RETURNING FORWARD Brett Ferres played about 45 minutes more than he expected in his Leeds Rhinos comeback.
Ferres has been struggling with a groin injury and a calf problem, but made his first appearance of the season in the 38-14 home win over Wakefield Trinity three days ago.
He returned to the side after only a couple of full training sessions and even he was surprised by the amount of game time he got as he played the full first half and much of the second.
“I only ran twice during the week,” Ferres reflected.
“Having been out for five months and not been running, it was certainly difficult.
“We spoke before the game – me and Mac [coach Brian McDermott] – and we said I’d probably play about 15 minutes and see how I went after that.
“Sixty minutes isn’t bad after a five-month lay-off and only running twice during the week, so I was certainly pleased with that.”
Ferres’ long-awaited comeback was well-timed for Rhinos, with back-rowers Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Stevie Ward still on the casualty list.
Liam Sutcliffe, who had played in that position in the previous week’s win over Catalans Dragons, missed out due to a calf strain, Brad Singleton began a six-game ban and fellow front-rower Jack Ormondroyd was unavailable because of a knee problem.
With Keith Galloway not yet recovered from the Achilles tear he suffered last September, Leeds were light on forwards.
Ferres, 30, came through unscathed, but revealed the decision to throw him back in was taken relatively late in the week.
“I’ve had a couple of decent weeks now and been able to back up some training and the pain has disappeared a bit,” he said.
“I trained on Monday with the boys, we had Tuesday off, I pulled up all right on Wednesday and we had the team run on Thursday.
“It was a bit of a late call, but it was important for me to really get some game time under my belt.
“It’s frustrating sitting on the sidelines and all I wanted to do was get out there and help the boys.”
Ferres described his injury as “a long and tedious one” and he added: “It has been very irritating and frustrating, but hopefully I am over it now.
“I felt all right in the game. I didn’t have much running – about and hour and a half – going into it so it was a decent test for me in a physical game at the start.
“I will be a bit sore, but hopefully the groin and the calf’s all right and I’ll come in on Monday morning with a smile on my face, ready to go again.
“It has been tough, I have put some weight on, but I will strip that off pretty quickly and I’m looking forward to being out with the boys and getting some combinations back and hopefully contributing to us this year.”
Ferres was held up over the Wakefield line twice in the first half and felt pleased with his overall performance.
He said: “It was good, I enjoyed being back on the left side. I played more on the right last year.
“Mac said play with Moony [Joel Moon] and Jimmy [Keinhorst] and I enjoyed that and it was good to get out there and hopefully contribute to a successful team performance.”
It was Rhinos’ second successive win following their huge defeat at Castleford Tigers. Ferres reckons they “learned some lessons” from that setback and have made strides in recent weeks.
“We’ve got a lot more cohesion in our halves and we are creating a lot more and I think everyone’s on board with it,” he said. “We are starting to look back to our best and a bit more capable in attacking areas.
“It is exciting times, coming off a couple of wins. We go to Huddersfield on Friday and it’d be nice to get some momentum and be consistent in what we are doing and hopefully keep getting the wins.”