Leeds Rhinos: Joel’s delight at reaching Leeds milestone

Joel Moon.
Joel Moon.
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THEY may be sat bottom of Super League and destined for the Qualifiers but ton-up Joel Moon admits it is “awesome” to have achieved 100 games for Leeds Rhinos.

The silky Australian centre marked the occasion a fortnight ago when facing high-flying Catalans Dragons.

RFL statistics says his 100th game was actually last week in the 8-0 win over Salford Red Devils, the club he signed from in 2012.

They argued the match against New Zealand last autumn was not an ‘official’ fixture due to the fielding of an irregular number of substitutes by both sides.

But Moon told the YEP: “No, I got my actual jersey that said 100th Leeds game on it against Catalans in first game back after injury so that’s what I’m going with.

“It’s a good achievement to get that many games.

“I never thought when I first came here I’d play that many times but to get a hundred for such a great club, with all its history, I am really proud.

“It’s awesome.

“I only signed for three years originally but then two years into it I signed again for another four.

“I’m loving it here.”

Moon has now scored 45 tries in 101 games for the club having made his debut against Hull FC in 2013.

His return after two months out with a hamstring problem has certainly seen Leeds displays improve.

They were much better defensively against Catalans, despite actually losing 24-12, and then got a win at last – their first in eight matches – against Salford.

Moon, who turned 28 on Wednesday, added: “We needed one quickly and we got it.

“We worked on a few things at training and slowly but steadily they’re paying off.

“It was a good week. Defence is real key for us and to get a team to nil is a real good achievement.

“We worked on that sort of stuff and hopefully we’ll keep that up week on week and do it again at Wakefield.”

That will not be easy, however, given Trinity have won 10 of their 13 games since Chris Chester took over and know another victory this evening would all but confirm their top-eight place.

Wakefield won 20-16 at Rhinos on Easter Monday, the first time they have prospered at Headingley since 2007.

Moon – who hopes to have regular wing partner Ryan Hall back alongside him this evening after three months sidelined – scored a try for Leeds that day but they were eventually undone by Craig Hall’s late 80m effort.

“They have been playing really well,” he admitted.

“They got us last time at Headingley and they have been real strong.

“I could be up against Billy (Tupou) who I know from the (New Zealand) Warriors and he’s a good player, very strong.

“But we’ll concentrate on what we do best and what we’re good.

“Hopefully we’ll go there and give another good performance.”

For all the troubles of last season’s treble-winners Leeds, Moon has instantly looked back to his sharp, cutting self on his return from that injury.

“You get a bit anxious to get out there and play and it was just good to get back into it and amongst it against Catalans,” added the ex-Brisbane Broncos player, who represented the Exiles in 2013.

“I thought we played well as well against them.

“Then we really started to show some signs of some good stuff versus Salford, getting the win, so we will just build on that now at Wakefield.

“It’s weird for everyone this position we’re in and I guess it’s harder for us as we’re actually out there playing in that.

“But that’s just rugby league and that’s why it’s such a tough sport.

“You just have to get back out there each week, play hard and now we’ve been playing well, too, so it’s going better.”