ROB BURROW insists he is as excited about the 2015 season as he was before his debut campaign in Leeds Rhinos’ senior squad, 14 years ago.
Now 32, Burrow is aware he is reaching the twilight of his career, but insisted that only makes him more determined to succeed.
“When you get older and you’ve won a few things, you could just put your cue on the rack,” he said. “But the guys are so determined to do well and everybody is as hungry as ever. This year is the last season for a couple of the lads and I know they are as keen as ever, so it is exciting and we are looking forward to it.”
Finishing sixth in Super League last year has given Rhinos a leg up into the new campaign, according to Burrow. He added: “The negative of going out (of the play-offs) early last year is going to be a positive, I think.
“We have had a lot longer in pre-season training. Rather than it being January 5 to the start of the season, I was in on November 7 and some people were in before that.
“We’ll have had a good three and a half months by the time we get going and we’ll be really well-trained and hardened and ready to hit the ground running in week one.”
Last year’s Challenge Cup triumph means Rhinos have won every available honour since the start of 2004. Burrow also has six Grand Final winner’s rings, been part of two table-topping sides and been crowned a World Club Champion on three occasions.
He is also likely this year to become only the 12th player to register 1,000 points for Leeds, his current total standing at 985, but despite that glittering list of honours and accolades, Burrow stressed there is no sense of the job being done.
He said: “Call us greedy, but – though you don’t expect to be winning things – you want to be doing that every year. It is something you get used to and finishing a season without a trophy, it’s like ‘what’s going on’?
“You have a long off-season to think about it. We want to keep winning things again. We don’t want it just to be 2004-2014, the Golden Decade. Why can’t it be 2007-2017, another Golden Decade?
“That’s the good thing about this team, You could sit back and put your slippers on, but we’re keener than ever to go on and win more.”
Burrow aggravated a long-term groin problem in last year’s Challenge Cup final and much of his pre-season was dedicated to recovery and rehabilitation, but he is now fully fit and raring to go.
“I feel good,” he said. “I’ve only trained with the team properly a few times, so Jamie Peacock’s testimonial game (against Bradford Bulls, on January 25) was a big test of how I was physically.
“I pulled through it well. I was a bit rusty because I’ve not trained much, but the main aim was to get through the game and see how the injury was.
“It was good, so I’m really excited about the season.”
The groin injury was Burrow’s second setback last year, after a broken collarbone – sustained in Rhinos’ Challenge Cup win over St Helens in April – kept him sidelined for three months. That could also have a positive effect this season, the half-back/hooker reckons.
“I didn’t play much last year,” he recalled. “I only played about half the season, so I have still got the 14 games left in me, which I didn’t play last year.
“I didn’t feel like I could run towards the end of last year (because of the groin injury), but the mileage in my body wasn’t there.
“I was keen to get back and if it hadn’t been for my injury I’d probably only have had a week off, then I’d have been back in the gym. It did hold me back, but I’m feeling good now.”