IRELAND INTERNATIONAL Anthony Mullally is ready to push for his Leeds Rhinos debut.
The 24-year-old prop joined Rhinos from Huddersfield Giants on a three-year contract at the end of last season, but was hurt making a guest appearance in the exhibition game against New Zealand in October.
That meant he was sidelined throughout pre-season and had to wait until last Sunday’s under-19s trial game at Doncaster to show Rhinos’ coaching staff what he can do.
The towering 6ft 5in front-rower made a big impact, scoring one try and setting up another and is hoping to make a quick breakthrough into Rhinos’ senior side.
“I only played 10 minutes against New Zealand before I hurt my ankle, so it has been a long, frustrating off-season,” said Mullally, who had a five-game spell on loan at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at the end of last year.
“I have only done four or five running sessions, three with the team, so it was good to get straight in there.
“It was mainly an under-19s fixture, but it was still good to get out with the lads and I really enjoyed it.”
Mullally, who began his career with Sunday’s hosts Widnes Vikings, reckons he can slot into Super League whenever he gets the call. He said: “I played 50-odd minutes at the weekend.
“It was not as fast as Super League, but still physical.
“It is down to whenever the coaches think I am ready, but I feel ready to go now.”
He admitted he has endured a frustrating start to his Rhinos career.
“I would rather do it [the injury] in October and get ready in the off-season than do it at the start of the season,” he said.
“The lads have been great, but you don’t really feel part of it until you are back training and playing.
“I am back training now, so things are a lot better.
“Florida [Rhinos’ training camp last month] was good for me, being around the lads 24-seven.
“Hopefully that bad luck’s behind me now and I can look forward to a good season.”
Mullally knows he faces a tough fight to get into Rhinos’ pack.
“It is a strong squad,” he said. “It was a disappointing result against Warrington last week, but we weren’t far away.
“Things didn’t go our way, but it was the first game. We will come back stronger and we’ve got just as good a chance as anyone to take the titles.”
Leeds Rhinos will be looking to get off the mark at Select Security Stadium in three days’ time, but Mullally – who began playing rugby with the Widnes Moorfield amateur club – reckons they will have to be at their best to achieve their second-round goal. Widnes kicked off with a 24-16 win at Wakefield last Sunday and Mullally said: “It is a tough place to go.
“I think a lot of people don’t like playing on that [artificial] pitch, but obviously we have got a point to prove now. We will be going all guns blazing and hopefully we can get a good result.”