Leeds Rhinos: Mullally out to cement place in the first team

Anthony Mullally
Anthony Mullally
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GIANT FORWARD Anthony Mullally is looking to make up for lost time after a frustrating two months out of Leeds Rhinos’ team.

The Irish international missed eight games before returning off the bench when Rhinos won 42-28 at London Broncos last time out.

“It has been a long time,” Mullally admitted of his spell out of the side.

“I had three games for Featherstone in the middle of that so at least I got some game time, but it was good to get back and get the win as well.”

Mullally, who joined Rhinos last winter from Huddersfield Giants after a loan spell at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, has yet to start for Leeds, but made 15 successive appearances as a substitute before a hand injury cost him his place.

He said: “Originally what put me out was, at the Magic Weekend, a bone came through my finger.

“I was only out for a week or so and I came back against Catalans, but I don’t think I had the best of games and I wasn’t able to get back in.

“I’ve not been injured, I’ve not been selected, but I’ve been training and biding my time.”

The stint on dual-registration at Kingstone Press Championship outfit Featherstone helped keep him match fit and he said: “I enjoyed it.

“All the lads were great and I went there for three pretty important games.

“We needed to win them and we won them all to get into the top-four.

“I enjoyed playing with them, they work really hard for each other and they are really tough and resilient.”

Playing against London made Mullally club-tied and ineligible for Rovers for the rest of the season, so game time from now on depends on staying in Leeds’ matchday 17.

“I want to keep my place,” Mullally said. “I didn’t get too long against London, about 20 minutes, but if I get another chance against Salford [on Friday] hopefully I’ll get a bit longer and I can stay in and finish the season well.”

Mullally is already looking forward to getting a big pre-season under his belt in preparation for 2017.

“I didn’t have a pre-season last year because I injured my ankle playing against New Zealand,” he recalled. “I played a lot early on when we weren’t going too well, then I dropped out and obviously now we are going well so that was frustrating, but I am looking forward to a big pre-season so we can start flying at the start of next year.”

Rhinos have won their opening three games in the First Utility Qualifiers, but Mullally insisted nobody in the camp is taking a top-three spot – and Super League status next year – for granted. He stressed: “We’re not sat back thinking we’ve won three games. We know Salford is going to be a massive game. They need to beat us, that’s plain and simple. They need to win so they are going to come here and be determined.

“We are going to have a big week in training preparing for it and I think if we win that we might be okay, so it’s a big game for us and we need to win it.”

l Castleford Academy are Year 7 boys national champions after beating Wigan side St Peter’s 12-6 in the Stephen Mullaney Memorial Match at Wembley. Castleford trailed 6-0 in the first half, but levelled before half-time through a try by Ryley Brown, which Mason Hare converted.

In the second half, Brown’s kick created a try for Daniel Gale and Hare’s conversion completed the scoring.

It was a clean-sweep for Castleford Academy, whose Year 9 boys, Year 9 girls and Year 10 boys also won their national finals.