VETERAN FORWARD Jamie Jones-Buchanan is delighted to be back in action for Leeds Rhinos and says his next objective is to stay there.
The 33-year-old returned from a month’s layoff, due to a hamstring injury, in last week’s 24-24 draw at Huddersfield Giants.
“It’s always good to be back and I didn’t feel too bad either,” he said of his return to Super League action.
“It’s great to be back with this good and growing bunch of boys and to be able to contribute in some way.
“But it’s about staying back as well. I’ll see how I pull up and then get ready for the next game.”
Jones-Buchanan had his problem hamstring strapped at half-time and admitted: “In the first half I had a few twinges, but it wasn’t too bad.
“I didn’t quite have the same intensity in the second half as I did in the first, because I was nursing it a bit, but you’ve just got to get on with it sometimes.”
Rhinos led 22-8 at the break, but Giants scored three tries in seven minutes at the start of the final quarter to go 24-22 ahead before Liam Sutcliffe’s penalty goal salvaged a point for the visitors.
Jones-Buchanan spent much of the second half on the bench and Leeds – already without Stevie Ward (ankle injury) – also lost fellow back-rower Brett Delaney to concussion soon after the interval.
Jones-Buchanan felt a draw was a good effort in the circumstances, but he admitted – after being on top in the opening 40 – they should have held on for the win.
“Sometimes you have to dig a boulder out of a hole,” he said. “It gets a bit tough sometimes, but the lads held on. Huddersfield were always going to have their say in that second half, but luckily we didn’t drop to a loss.
“It is a point in the league and that could go a long way further down the line, but if you had been in the changing rooms afterwards you’d have thought it was a defeat, the lads were really dejected and upset.
“It is a long time since we’ve gone to Huddersfield in the league and got a win and it looked like we were going to get that. We played pretty well in that first half, but we allowed Huddersfield to get back into the same.
“They have got some tricky players, they never give in and they came back at us, like they did at home. They scrapped and got themselves a point, but we feel like it was a point lost.
“It was disappointing, but we will get back on the wagon and in a few weeks nobody will remember that game. Every experience is a learning experience and hopefully we will have learned something from it. Sometimes you have to do it tough, we weren’t quite there, but a point’s better than a loss.”
Leeds had chances to win the game in the final seconds, when Liam Sutcliffe was wide with a drop goal attempt and then Rob Burrow slipped when a gap seemed to have opened up.
But Jones-Buchanan also pointed to the penalty, awarded against him, which Danny Brough kicked on the stroke of half-time and he said: “There’s a lot of variables in a game, from minute one to minute 80, that can affect the result.
“We have all got to look at ourselves and make sure we improve this week.”
Last week’s match was an unusual experience for Jones-Buchanan, being in a Leeds team without captain – and his “best mate” – Kevin Sinfield.
“It is what it is,” he said. “Certainly in games like that he’s the sort of bloke who steps up and bosses the team around, but in saying that, Magsy [Danny McGuire] is as experienced as anybody and Liam Sutcliffe is going to go through experiences like that and learn.”