Leeds Rhinos: Garbutt on mission to keep game run going

Mitch Garbutt.
Mitch Garbutt.
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A RUN of successive games is Mitch Garbutt’s target after his Leeds Rhinos comebac

Garbutt missed five matches, but returned in Leeds’ 22-14 win over Leigh Centurions on Friday, despite an early injury scare.

That was only his 12th appearance of the season and he is now aiming to be a mainstay of Rhinos’ push for a top-four finish in Betfred Super League.

He said: “It is good to be back and it was good to get the win.

“It was a tough game, but, especially at this time of the year and how close it is at the moment, all points are important.

“We don’t want to be getting too far behind the pecking order in the Super-8s.”

It looked as though the Aussie forward’s comeback might be short lived when he was hurt after just five minutes.

Keith Galloway – also making his return from injury – was set to take over, but Garbutt carried on until being given a breather at the end of the opening quarter and said there were no ill-effects afterwards.

“I copped a knock on the shoulder trying to tackle one of their big fellas,” he explained.

“It was just a bit sore – I didn’t know what was going on, but it has come good now.”

Garbutt missed Leeds’ win at Catalans Dragons a month ago and then the games against Barrow Raiders, Castleford Tigers, Warrington Wolves and Widnes Vikings.

He did not travel to France due to paternity leave and said the other absences were through two separate injuries.

“I was out with concussion and then I hurt my quad at training so it was a double whammy,” he said.

“It is disappointing to miss any games this year, it has been stop-start for me.

“I think I’ve only played about four games in a row.

“That’s a bit disappointing, but hopefully I can get a few games together.”

Rhinos are in derby action on Saturday evening when they visit Wakefield Trinity.

The situation on the table makes it a crucial fixture, with Leeds third and Wakefield in fourth on points difference.

Trinity’s 34-24 victory at second-placed Salford Red Devils two days ago was their seventh successive win in a run stretching back to April 22 when they lost at Warrington Wolves.

Rhinos’ success against Leigh came four days after a 28-20 loss at bottom club Widnes and maintained their record of not having suffered back-to-back defeats this year.

Garbutt reckons Rhinos’ habit of bouncing back is a step forward from last season, but stressed more consistency is needed to avoid facing that situation in the first place.

He said: “We know how good we can be.

“We were so disappointed with what happened the game before.

“We are disappointed when we don’t perform well and we lose games, but we don’t want to make a habit of losing to win the next game.

“We need to be consistent, but we came up with a reaction and that’s what we want.”