LONG-TERM CASUALTY Keith Galloway is within sight of his Leeds Rhinos return.
The Australian former Test prop has not played since suffering a ruptured Achilles in Rhinos’ penultimate game of 2016, away to Huddersfield Giants, last September.
But he is now stepping up training and is hoping to be back on the field at some stage next month.
Galloway joined Rhinos from Wests Tigers at the end of 2015 and made 30 appearances in his debut campaign, being selected by coach Brian McDermott as runner-up in Leeds’ player of the year awards.
His return will be a boost to Rhinos’ pack which has been devastated by injuries and suspensions so far this term.
“I have been back running for a couple of weeks,” confirmed the 31-year-old front-rower.
“I have been getting some k’s [kilometres] in my legs, so I am feeling good.
“I am aiming for around the Easter weekend, so I am not too far off.
“As long as I keep training hard and build it up and I don’t have any setbacks it will probably be around then.”
Galloway – who had hoped to feature for Scotland in last year’s Four Nations before being ruled out by the injury – said he is gradually increasing his workload in training.
“I have been doing straight-line running for the past two weeks,” he said. “I’ve done some down and up work as well now so I am getting pretty close.
“Obviously I’ll have to do some more of that, some contact work and really test it out before I start playing again, but it’s not too far away at all.
“It has been a long time, I have had a long off-season, but I am getting excited now.
“Each time I do something different in training it is pretty exciting and it gives me a lot of encouragement.”
Rhinos travel to Hull on Good Friday, April 14, are at home to Widnes Vikings on Easter Monday and then face Doncaster in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup four days later.
“There’s so many games so close together over Easter, so I guess the more bodies we have as a club the better it is,” Galloway said.
“It will give me an opportunity to play some football, which is good.”
Rhinos will take a three-match winning run into Friday’s visit of Wigan Warriors and Galloway observed: “We are going good. We are toughing out some good wins.
“Last year we lost a lot of games early on by close scores so to be winning these type of games, there’s a good feeling around the club at the moment.”
Unavailability of some senior forwards has given fringe players chance to stake a claim and Galloway added: “Anthony Mullally has really found his feet this year, he is running really hard and he is a big handful.
“Baldy [Jordan Baldwinson] is a young kid who works hard and makes some tough carries every game and it’s good for the club that these two are playing really well.”
Brad Singleton will complete a six-match ban over Easter and Galloway predicted: “He is probably a future leader of this club for years to come.
“He’s still only young, but pretty much an experienced campaigner.
“He has got a big future ahead of him and he is one of the tough nuts in our pack.”