ANTHONY Mullally is getting used to playing the waiting-game for in-form Leeds Rhinos.
The towering prop has played 13 times for the club this season – missing just two matches in all competitions – and is arguably in his best vein form form since joining from Huddersfield Giants in 2015.
However, Mullally concedes he is still never sure if he will be in Brian McDermott’s 17.
Having featured during the 72-10 rout of Barrow Raiders in Sunday’s Challenge Cup fixture, he is hoping he has done enough to retain his place for their Magic Weekend date with Castleford Tigers.
“We’ve still not had a full one to 17 out yet this season,” admitted the 25-year-old, who has the likes of Keith Galloway, Mitch Garbutt and Brad Singleton to contend with for places at Headingley when everyone is available.
“But when we do you forget how hard it is to keep your place in the side.
“I’m not sure if I’ll be playing in Newcastle yet.
“I‘m just trying to play well each week and get that consistency going. I feel like I’m getting there.
“I did my rib cartilage against Widnes which put me back a bit but I’m really enjoying my rugby at the moment when I’m out there.
“It was good against Barrow, too. Playing League One or Championship teams is always pretty physical. We knew it’d be tough up front but we got the job done.
“We’ve been wanting to get a full 80 minutes performance in and that was more like it.”
Super League leaders Castleford, of course, will offer a different proposition entirely in Newcastle on Sunday.
“I caught the back end of their game against Saints on Saturday and they were impressive,” said Mullally, Tigers having thrashed their opponents 53-10 to set up a Challenge Cup quarter-final with holders Hull FC.
“They play creative stuff and like an offload in the forwards.
“They have a good pack and have people like Junior Moors who loves an offload and is one of those unpredictable players Cas have.
“They are one of the best sides in the league but we’ve been focusing on improving our defence.
“We’ve been looking at our committment to each other in ‘d’ and that has shown of late.
“We know the key areas to fix after last time and where we need to play better.”
The ‘last time’ was when Leeds were crushed 66-10 at Castleford back in March.
It proved a wake-up call for Rhinos who have turned their form around since and are now just two points adrift of the league leaders in what is expected to be the tie of the weekend.
Ireland star Mullally conceded: “Sunday’s definitely a big one for us. I’m not sure what other people are saying about it.
“We’ve been playing well and they’re top of the league while we’ll be looking to put things right after the loss we had over at their place.
“We’re not after revenge or anything but just for ourselves we know we’re better than that.”