IN A poor season for Leeds Rhinos, German international Jimmy Keinhorst has been one of the success stories.
The 26-year-old has featured in the 17 for all but three of Rhinos’ 28 games this year and declared himself “pretty happy” with how things have gone on a personal level.
The target now is to finish the year on a high, helping secure a return to First Utility Super League and going into what will be a crucial pre-season in confident mood.
Reflecting on how 2016 has gone so far, Keinhorst said: “Obviously it is a bit of a different season in terms of where we are in the league.
“That puts a bit of a dampener on things, but in terms of how I’ve played, I think I’ve been all right, especially in the centres.
“I have quite enjoyed playing in the centres, filling in for Moony [Joel Moon]. That aspect has been good.”
Keinhorst has taken three different roles this year, starting in both the centres and second-row and also coming off the bench as an impact player.
“It has always been a bit of an issue, getting consistency in terms of game time,” he said.
“It is just something that’s part of my role at the moment.
“Hopefully I will improve on that, but I have enjoyed getting the 80 minutes at centre.”
Now in his fifth season in Rhinos’ senior squad, the former Leeds Metropolitan University player feels he has made progress.
“I feel a bit more comfortable in myself, a bit more confident,” he confirmed.
“Especially when I get a run of games together, getting that consistency is important, obviously.”
Rhinos have won their opening three games in the middle-eights Qualifiers and victory at home to Salford Red Devils in three days’ time would be a huge step towards ensuring they are back in the elite competition next year.
“The first thing is to secure that spot in Super League,” Keinhorst admitted.
“We have got a job to do there, to finish off and then I think pre-season will be a big one.
“We are under no illusions about how tough it is going to be next year.
“Every squad improves year on year and we will be looking forward to the new challenge.”
With four games left in the Qualifiers, Keinhorst insisted the job is not done.
Leeds were below par in their past two matches, against Hull KR and London Broncos, and Keinhorst stressed: “We’re not quite there yet.
“It will go a long way if we get the win against Salford and we will be having a big week leading into that. I don’t think performances have been great; we’ve picked up the wins, but I think performances have been a bit scratchy at times.
“We have been doing some good stuff, but a bit of sloppy stuff as well which we need to turn around. We will have to play better this week. I think Salford will present a good challenge.
“They will be coming here desperate to win, but equally we need that win as well so I am sure we are in for a good game.”
Rhinos are alternating between Super League and Kingstone Press Championship opposition, but Keinhorst denied that makes preparation more difficult. He said: “It is different, we are playing teams we maybe aren’t used to.
“But the preparation has to stay the same. You can’t be taking anyone lightly just because they are playing in the Championship. We go into every game with the same mindset. It is a bit of a challenge, but you have to be professional and go into them all like a Super League game.”