MISFORTUNE OFTEN has a part in players missing matches, but when Mitch Garbutt sat out Leeds Rhinos’ last game it was all due to Chance.
That’s the name of Garbutt and wife Ruth’s second child, who was born eight days ago.
Garbutt was given paternity leave and did not travel to last Saturday’s 30-24 win at Catalans Dragons, but is available for Sunday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup sixth-round clash with Barrow Raiders.
He described the last few days as “busy”, but said: “It has been really good. My missus is a bit sore, she had a cesarian, but both are back at home now and all’s good.
“The reason I didn’t make the trip to Catalans is we are over here by ourselves. The club have been very good in understanding that and they gave me the okay to have the weekend off.
“It was disappointing not to be able to travel with the boys, but I had more important things to do! The staff at LGI [Leeds General Infirmary] were really good with it all and it’s good to have them home now and they are both doing really well.”
Having a young baby around the house isn’t likely to have an adverse effect on Garbutt’s form on the field.
His and Ruth’s daughter Jordan-Coco was only around 10 weeks old when he signed for Leeds and famously won the Challenge Cup, Super League leaders’ shield and Grand Final in his first 14 appearances.
The bonus for Chance is he is qualified to play for England. Garbutt said: “We’ll think about that if it comes.”
Garbutt’s absence allowed teenage prop Mikolaj Oledzki to make his Betfred Super League debut and the Aussie was impressed with the way Leeds twice hit back from 10 points down.
“I had the game on the tv,” Garbutt said. “I couldn’t pay too much attention to it with two crying kids, but it was good. It was a tough game, as it always is going to Catalans and I thought there were some really good performances.
“In prior times that game probably would have got away from us. It showed how far we’ve come, the boys hung in there and they didn’t panic and they were there until the end. That’s what we needed, they were in touching distance and ended up coming away with the win.”
Victory was inspired by a storming effort from Aussie forward Adam Cuthbertson. Garbutt said: “He played really well. He is doing what he’s good at and he has gone really well this season.”
Rhinos will be expected to ease past Barrow, from Kingstone Press League One this weekend, but Garbutt insisted: “Doncaster out-played us in the second half in the last round. Barrow are undefeated and it’s going to be a massive game for them.
“Anyone’s got a good game of rugby league in them and they’ll be looking to take a big scalp in us.
“But we will do our preparation and treat it as any other game. That’s all you can do, once you get out there it’s 13 against 13 and anything can happen.”