Leeds Rhinos: Jordan-Roberts aims for change of fortune next season

Josh Jordan-Roberts.
Josh Jordan-Roberts.
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The 19-year-old looked to be on the verge of a breakthrough when he made his Rhinos debut in the final game of 2016, but a series of setbacks restricted him to just eight senior appearances this year, at two different clubs.

Josh Jordan-Roberts'.

Josh Jordan-Roberts'.

Now back in pre-season training with Rhinos, he is hoping for a change of fortune in 2018 and more games at the top level.

“Last season was a bit disruptive,” Jordan-Roberts recalled. “I had a couple of injuries – I had my appendix out, I dislocated my knee and I had a bit of a quad tear towards the end of the season.

“When I was playing I was enjoying myself and all I am aiming to do is enjoy my rugby, no matter where it is.

“Whether it’s here or elsewhere all I want to do is enjoy myself and hopefully I can make a bit of an impact.

“It has always been a dream of mine to play for Leeds, I am a Leeds lad, but if I have to play somewhere else to get some game time I will do that with high hopes of doing well elsewhere.”

Jordan-Roberts, who has retained Rhinos’ No29 jersey for 2018, faces a battle for a place in the back-row, but reckons that comes with the territory. He said: “There’s strength in depth at the club at the minute. We’ve always had a strong squad, no matter what we’ve done and there’s always competition for places.”

Jordan-Roberts’ only game for Rhinos in 2017 was off the bench in a 34-0 defeat at Wigan Warriors. He also played seven times on loan for Bradford Bulls before injury struck and feels he is better for the experience.

“It was tough,” he admitted. “Going in on the first day and seeing all the boys with a smile on their face, I was shocked. It was tough circumstances because they were on minus 12 points at the start of the year and I’d say they were pretty much certain to go down.

“It was tough playing there when the boys were going through what they were going through, but it was a privilege to play for a team that had so much history.

“It stood me in good stead playing against blokes week in and week out.

“I came back and ended up playing for the under-19s and that was a tough test for me because I’d been in a position where I was playing against men and I came back and was playing against kids my own age.

“But I thoroughly enjoyed last year and playing where I did, especially getting that game against Wigan.

“Although we got beat and got beat well, all the young kids dug in and fought for each other.”

Training in freezing conditions in November is not ideal, but Jordan-Roberts insisted: “It’s nice to be back in.

“Five weeks is a long time to be away. It’s nice to get some time off, but coming back in and seeing all the boys again is good.”