LEEDS RHINOS’ strong-running Australian prop Mitch Garbutt wants to add quantity to quality over the final few weeks of the season.
Garbutt was among Rhinos’ try scorers in the 38-26 win over Hull yesterday which was his comeback after three games on the sidelines due to a calf injury.
He has been restricted to just 21 appearances this term and admitted: “It has been a bit of a weird year for me, to be honest.”
He said: “When I’ve been out there I’ve been playing as good as I’ve played, but I haven’t been out there as much as I would have liked.
“There’s been a few four or five-week injuries that have really stunted my season, but personally I think I have been playing as good as I have since I’ve been here.”
Garbutt joined Rhinos from Brisbane Broncos on a two-and-a-half-year deal midway through the 2015 season.
He was a Challenge Cup, league leaders’ shield and Grand Final winner in his first 14 games for Leeds and his contract was extended until the end of 2019.
“I enjoy it here,” he said. “I am here for another couple of years and I am looking forward to that. It is a great club so why would you want to leave?”
The win two days ago put Leeds in a strong position for a return to Old Trafford. They are now guaranteed a place in the play-offs and one victory from their final three Super-8s fixtures would secure a home tie.
“Whenever we play at Headingley it is a massive boost for us,” Garbutt said. “I think we can beat anyone at home, then if you get in that Grand Final it is anyone’s on the day. But our next job is to make sure we get that second spot.”
Despite some inconsistent form, Rhinos have clawed their way back into title contention after finishing ninth in 2016.
“I think towards the end of the season we were probably playing our best footy last year and that has carried over into this year,” Garbutt said.
He reckons Rhinos will need to improve, though, when they visit league leaders Castleford Tigers next Friday.
“It is massive,” Garbutt said of what could be a Grand Final dress rehearsal. “We haven’t beaten them in a while and that’s something we are aiming to do.
“There’s no talk of taking any games easy now, we’ve got to play well every week.”
Rhinos scored six tries against Hull, but conceded four and struggled to see off opponents who were backing up from five days of celebrations following their Ladbrokes Challenge Cup victory over Wigan Warriors.
“It was a tough game,” Garbutt said. “They hung in there – everyone probably thought they would fall away after a big couple of days celebrating, but credit to them, they fought all the way.
“It was one of those games where we had a few chances to put the game to bed and we made a few costly errors and we gave their danger players chance to do some good things, but we got the win.
“I think Brian (McDermott, Leeds’ coach) touched on it earlier in the year; whenever we had been close to achieving something we lost that game, but the important thing on Thursday was the win.
“It puts us in a good spot on the table and to take a win away against a decent Hull side is good.”