Leeds Rhinos: Hooker Falloon aims to put his best foot forward

Beau Falloon
Beau Falloon
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OFF-SEASON SIGNING Beau Falloon is relishing an opportunity to show Leeds Rhinos fans what he can do when he tangles with one of the best in the business.

The hooker, recruited from Gold Coast Titans on a one-year contract, will make his competitive home debut–- and second Super League appearance – in tonight’s crucial showdown with arch-rivals St Helens.

It will be a big test for Falloon, who came off the bench in last Friday’s defeat at Wigan Warriors, as he goes head-to-head with Saints’ talisman James Roby.

The England international is a former Man of Steel and one of the British game’s most dynamic dummy-halves, but Falloon is up for the challenge.

“I know quite a lot about him,” said the Rhinos No 9. “He is a great player and he has been at the top of his game for a number of years over here in the Super League.

“I have got a lot of respect for him and I am definitely looking forward to going against him.”

Falloon has pledged to make up for lost time after an injury-hit start to his Rhinos career.

“It was good to finally make my debut for the club,” he said.

“It has been a frustrating start to the year for myself, but I am back being able to contribute to the team and that’s the main thing.

“It was definitely frustrating. Coming into a new club you want to put your best foot forward, so being injured early and missing a few games was tough, but thankfully it is all behind me now and hopefully I can put a string of games together.”

Falloon had been due to feature in Rhinos’ final pre-season game, away to Featherstone Rovers on January 31, but suffered a freak injury in training which kept him out of their opening five competitive matches.

“It was a funny one,” he said. “There was a fracture in the bottom of my foot, near the toe. It was quite difficult for me to run on.

“They had to rest me up in a boot for a few weeks, but that is all behind me now.

“The injury has recovered well and I got through the game last Friday, so that was good.”

Falloon had to go off twice due to head knocks in the Boxing Day game against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.

And his run of bad luck made getting through last week’s match with no ill-effects even more pleasing.

He is hoping to step up another level this evening. “It was good to get a fair few minutes [against Wigan] and blow some of the cobwebs out,” he said.

“The lungs were definitely feeling it out there in a few stages, but I will be better for the run and hopefully I can keep putting a better performance in each week.”

Falloon had a taste of the Headingley atmosphere on Boxing Day and in Carl Ablett’s testimonial game against Bradford Bulls the following month, but tonight will be his first Friday night experience.

Another big crowd is expected and he said: “Watching the first few rounds at Headingley, it was killing me not to be a part of it.

“Finally I will be able to get a proper game at home and I can’t wait. I am looking forward to it.”

Rhinos beat Saints four times in five meetings last year, including the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup and First Utility Super League semi-finals.

Saints have made a better start this term and are fourth, with four wins from their opening five matches.

Another victory for the visitors would open an eight point gap over Rhinos and leave the defending champions facing a huge struggle to finish in the top-four.

But Leeds’ injury situation is beginning to ease and they could have up to four players back tonight, which means they are going into the game in upbeat mood.

“We have got to turn things around,” Falloon said. “That is our main focus.

“We have been working our butts off in training this week and we will be doing everything we can to get the result.

“I am confident, we have got a great side here and I don’t think it’s too far off before we start turning things around.

“It just comes down to hard work.

“That’s all we can focus on.

“It is a tough competition, Wigan last week were a great side and I am sure it’s not going to get any easier against St Helens.

“They are a great side and they are playing quite good at the moment.

“They had a good win on the weekend so we are going to have to front up and put our best foot forward.”

Saints’ visit is the first of four games in 15 days for Rhinos.

Falloon said: “I haven’t done that before, but being out injured I am really looking forward to getting some games under my belt.

“It will be a good thing for my fitness, so I can’t wait.”

Leeds Rhinos: from Hardaker, Handley, Watkins, Moon, Hall, Sutcliffe, McGuire, Galloway, Burrow, Cuthbertson, Achurch, Ferres, Singleton, Falloon, Jones-Buchanan, Garbutt, Mullally, Ablett, Delaney.

St Helens: from Makinson, Turner, Burns, Walsh, Walmsley, Roby, Amor, Vea, Wilkin, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Tasi, Richards, Savelio, Thompson, Peyroux, Greenwood, Dawson, Owens, McDonnell.

Referee: Ben Thaler (Wakefield).

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