SUPER LEAGUE leaders Leeds Rhinos can handle two games in five days.
That’s the message from conditioner Jason Davidson, who revealed Rhinos’ backroom staff have been planning for this week’s tough schedule since the fixtures were published last autumn.
Rhinos had one derby game at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats on Sunday afternoon and face another, at home to Castleford Tigers, in two days’ time.
Tigers opted to bring their game at Hull KR forward two days, from Sunday to Friday, to give themselves extra time to prepare, but Leeds’ management decided against making a similar request.
And Davidson insisted Rhinos – who are just one point clear of second-placed St Helens – are not taking a risk.
“It’s a question of how you manage it,” said Davidson, who oversees all the club’s conditioning.
“We’ve done it before, at Easter and we’ll do it again before the season’s out, I’m sure. You’ve just got to look after your players, make sure they recover well and train them right.”
The difference between this week
and Easter is the fact Thursday’s opposition have had two extra days to prepare.
But Davidson said: “They have probably had one extra training session more than us.
“We will train [tonight] and we’ll be ready to go.
“If you don’t plan it right it can hit you, but we’ve planned it right.
“We took the boys off we needed to take off [during Sunday’s game] and we looked after them.
“They were all in [yesterday] and recovered and we’ll get them ready to go on Thursday.”
Rhinos came through their 58-26 win at Wakefield with no major injury concerns and coach Brian McDermott was able to rest several of his key players - including Danny McGuire, Jamie Peacock, Stevie Ward and Kevin Sinfield - during the match.
“It is all planned,” Davidson added. “Some days the games don’t go how you want them to go.
“Luckily the game went how we wanted it to and we could rest a few players. We did enough in the game to be able to give those guys a bit of a rest.”
Davidson said the level of professionalism among Rhinos’ squad also ensures they can handle a short turnaround.
“These guys have been doing it a long time and they know what to do,” he said.
“They know what to put in their bodies. I send the odd text now and again just to make sure they are doing the right things, but apart from that, they are really good.
“We’ve got no fears at all. They’ve all turned up [yesterday] and they are raring to go.
“They all want to get out on the playing field. That’s what they do.
“They don’t enjoy the training bit, they enjoy the playing bit.
“The guys who need to train have been training, the guys who don’t need to train and who need to rest up will rest up.
“We’ll get them all ready and we’ll be ready to go on Thursday.”