LONG-TERM CASUALTY Jimmy Keinhorst’s return to Leeds Rhinos action was an ideal birthday present.
Keinhorst played the full 80 minutes of last Friday’s 10-7 win over Hull, which was his first game at any level since suffering a hand injury against Warrington Wolves on April 7.
With fellow centres Kallum Watkins and Liam Sutcliffe both on the unavailable list, plans for Keinhorst to regain match fitness on dual-registration with Featherstone Rovers had to be abandoned and he was relieved to get an intense game under his belt with no major ill-effects.
“It was good to come back – especially at Headingley – and get the win,” said the German international, who celebrated his 27th birthday on the day of the match.
“I was happy to get 80 minutes under my belt and hopefully I played my part in the win as well.”
After more than three months on the sidelines, Keinhorst admitted he was “pleased to get that one out of the way”.
He added: “My finger’s come through it all right.
“I picked up a couple of other knocks and I’ve been sore for a couple of days, but I’m sure I’ll be good to go this week.”
Keinhorst made a game-saving tackle on the final play, pushing Mahe Fonua into touch as the Hull winger broke away and looked set to score what would have been the winning try.
“I just did my best to get back there and I managed to take him into touch,” he recalled.
“It was good to do that and then hear the final whistle after it.
“I didn’t know that was going to be the last play, to be honest, but you get a gauge that it’s getting it close.
“Obviously they were throwing it around in that final bit of the game there. We just had to dig in and get ourselves around the park and stop them.”
Keinhorst’s aim now is to get a run of games and build up his fitness as Rhinos approach the crucial final quarter of the season.
“That’s obviously what I’m looking for,” he said. “I want to build some consistency back into my game and hopefully pick up from where I left off before I was injured.
“I want to do that consistently week by week and put in some good performances going into the Super-8s. There’s some big games coming up for us, hopefully.”
Rhinos close their regular-season campaign away to Wigan Warriors on Friday, eight days before a rematch with Hull in a Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final.
“We won’t look too far ahead, in terms of the semi-final,” Keinhorst stressed. “We will deal with Wigan this week, who will be a big task for us as well.
“We’ll look towards the semi-final after that. They are big tough games, but that’s what you want.
“I am looking forward to playing my part and, hopefully, picking up some wins and picking up some momentum going into the end of the season.”