Leeds Rhinos: Possible return to action could be alongside new man Garbutt – McGuire

Mitch Garbutt
Mitch Garbutt
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AFTER THE game last week I got a bit of stick from a Hull fan.

I know it’s best not to, but I bit. I asked her ‘have you been standing here all this time just to have a go at me’? And she said ‘No, I’ve been standing here all this time having a go at all the Leeds players’. That made me laugh. I was expecting a bit of banter last Friday and there was plenty.

I saw a few messages advising me to stay well away. A lot of the Hull fans thought I had exaggerated my injury to get Marc Sneyd banned and they weren’t happy, but that wasn’t true. I would never do anything like that and I don’t know any players who would.

But I went to the game, because I wanted to support the lads. We put in a good performance and it was a fantastic win in the circumstances.

I kept my head down, adopted a low profile and got out in one piece!

It was frustrating to miss out last week, but I am hoping to play against Saints tonight.

I have improved loads over the last few days and I am really positive about my chances.

I am feeling good. Sometimes you play and the adrenaline is flowing, you cop a knock and when you come off you think it isn’t too serious.

The next day you wake up really sore and you realise it’s worse than you thought. My injury was different, it felt bad at the time and I was sore for for a few days afterwards, then it gradually started to get better.

As I always say, the physios and medical staff at Leeds are second to none and they have done an outstanding job with me. If I do play tonight, it will largely be down to them.

It seems our new signing Mitch Garbutt has brought the weather with him. We met him for the first time on Monday and he has settled in really well.

He looks in good shape and he’s very keen to get started and to make a good impression. He has played for two great clubs, Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos and they don’t take you on if you aren’t capable.

I don’t know if Mitch will be in the 17 tonight, but I am looking forward to playing alongside him when he does make his debut. With Mitch Achurch and Jamie Jones-Buchanan still on the injured list, it’s good to bring another forward in and he will increase competition for places in the pack.

Tonight’s game is massive. We aren’t playing it down, it is going to have a big bearing on where we finish at the end of the regular rounds. It’s probably too early for it to have any influence on the Cup semi-final at the end of the month, but it is champions against Challenge Cup holders and the two teams that have been the most consistent this year.

All teams have had blips, but the table doesn’t lie and if you are at the top at this stage, you’ve been the best team so far. That said, our main focus is on putting in a good performance, in front of our own fans. We feel when we do get it right, we aren’t going to be far off, no matter who we play.

One thing we will have to cope with is the heat. The forecast for tonight is to be pretty warm, so that adds to the challenge for both teams.

It’s ironic that last week we had to alter our game plan because of the rain. It was a nice day and the plan was to throw the ball about, but then the heavens opened as the game kicked off and that made it a totally different match.

I think Hull will admit they made a lot of mistakes and didn’t really handle the greasy ball. We took advantage of their errors and it paid off for us.

We have had a couple more days to rest up and prepare than Saints, so hopefully we will be full of energy.

The plan is to come out fast, move the ball around try and play at a quick tempo.

Saints are an outstanding attacking team as well, so it should be an exciting game.

In the spotlight

BARROW BOY Brad Singleton answered my questions for today’s column.

Singo is one of the rising stars in our team. He’s been on the scene since 2011 and I think he has a massive future.

If you’ve got any questions for Rhinos players, email me via Peterj.Smith@jpress.co.uk or contact me on Twitter.

1: What’s your favourite food? Steak

2: Favourite holiday destination? Barrow – or as a second-choice, Australia!

3: Dream car? McClaren Mercedes

4: Favourite away ground? Craven Park, Barrow

5: Toughest opponent? Wigan

6: Best RL moment? My Leeds debut

7: Favourite joke: What’s the difference between a policeman and a soldier? You can’t dip a policeman in your egg!

8 Wembley or Old Trafford? Both

9: Any superstitions? I always put my left boot on first

10 Funniest team-mate? Chris Clarkson