FRUSTRATED LEEDS Rhinos forward Brett Ferres admits this has been the worst season of his career, but the 31-year-old is still aiming to end it on a high.
Ferres has managed only 12 appearances in 2017 and his run of injuries cost him a place in England’s elite performance squad ahead of this autumn’s World Cup.
After missing Leeds’ first five games he picked up a six-match ban following his third appearance of the campaign.
He played in the next eight, but then suffered a knee injury which has yet to heal.
His attempted comeback in last month’s Challenge Cup semi-final against Hull did not work out and he admitted: “It is the worst season of my career.
“It has been very, very tough. It didn’t start off too well with my groin and then I had a bit of an issue with my knee, which was related to the groin problem.
“It has just continued and I’ve not been able to break the cycle of getting back, having a couple of games and re-injuring it again.
“It has been hard because obviously I signed at this club and wanted to get out on the pitch and showcase what I can do and I haven’t been able to get on the pitch really, so it has been very frustrating.”
His most recent attempted comeback was a mistake, Ferres conceded. “I probably shouldn’t have played against Hull in the Challenge Cup,” he confirmed.
“If it hadn’t been that big a game I don’t think I would have played.
“Obviously it has backfired for me so it’s a bit of a tough one to swallow, but it gives me now an opportunity for a couple of weeks to get my knee right and push towards the back end of the season.
“There’s some big games coming up so I will concentrate on getting myself right and giving myself an opportunity to play again this season.”
Ferres is confident he will be back in action before the end of the campaign.
“I just need a couple of extra weeks,” he said. “Sometimes you take a gamble and it doesn’t play off.
“Obviously it didn’t pay off for me and it didn’t pay off for the club.
“We got beaten in the semi-final and that compounds it. If we had won it wouldn’t have been as bad, but that’s the way rugby league goes, unfortunately.”
Ferres will be watching from the sidelines when Rhinos face St Helens tomorrow in the final game before Headingley’s South Stand is demolished.
Having played against Leeds for Bradford Bulls, Wakefield Trinity, Castleford Tigers and Huddersfield Giants he reckons the terrace will be missed by opposition players as well as the Rhinos team.
“It’s brilliant, I love the South Stand,” he said. “I loved coming here and playing against Leeds.
“It is pretty daunting when Leeds are playing well and the South Stand are getting behind them. It’s tough to break that because they keep scoring and scoring and the cheering gets louder and louder.
“On the flip side, when you are playing for Leeds and they are shouting your name it is fantastic.
“I don’t think you can replicate that atmosphere at many other clubs so it will be missed, but I am sure we’ll all be happy when there’s a sparkling new stand there and hopefully that atmosphere stays exactly the same.”