GIANT FORWARD Anthony Mullally will add much-needed size and power to Leeds Rhinos’ pack tonight – and insists he has learned his disciplinary lesson.
Mullally is back in Rhinos’ squad for the tricky Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final against Leigh Centurions at Featherstone’s LD Nutrition Stadium, Post Office Road.
He sat out the past two matches after being banned over four incidents of illegally using his knees during the win at his hometown club Widnes Vikings in the previous round of the Cup. And the 6ft 5in, 17st 6lb front-rower insisted he has no intention of falling foul of the match review panel again after losing his previously clean disciplinary record.
“I’ve had a look at it and to be honest I don’t know why I did it, I think it was just a one-off,” he said of his bad night at Widnes.
“I’ve been looking at clips from previous games and – fingers crossed – I am going to be conscious of it and trying to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Mullally will be aiming to take out his “frustration” on an in-form Leigh pack.
“It’s frustrating being out, especially when you’re not injured,” he added.
“You have to train with no end purpose. You feel lost, but obviously I am back now and focused on this week, which is a big game.”
Mullally’s presence will give Rhinos a lift after they were without 10 senior players – four of them props – for last Saturday’s 33-20 Betfred Super League defeat at Catalans Dragons.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” admitted Mullally.
“It is worse than 2016, injury-wise. We’ve had people back and as soon as they’ve come in other people have gone.
“I don’t think we’ve played with a full team all year.
“We are still sticking together and we are not going to let it affect us.
“I think we’ve got Garbs [Mitch Garbutt] back soon and we’ll get through it.
“When we get a full team, it’ll be interesting to see how we go.”
Leigh are fifth in the Betfred Championship, but last week’s two point loss to leaders Toronto Wolfpack was their first in 12 games.
They beat top-flight side Salford Red Devils in the previous round and Mullally warned: “They have got a lot of Super League players and they recruited well in the off-season to make sure they get back there.
“I am not seeing them as a Championship team, I’m just seeing it as a big game, a quarter-final, regardless of who you play.
“There’s no second chance, you can’t die wondering.”
With Leeds sitting sixth in the table and on a run of three successive league defeats, the Cup could be their best hope of silverware this year.
“It is massive,” Mullally said of the knockout competition. I have never been to a final and I’ll do everything I can to get there.
“It is a bit of a fresh start, we are just focusing on this one game and after that we can crack back on with Super League.”
Rhinos were drawn at home, but had to switch the tie from Emerald Headingley because of Test cricket there.
Leigh won 42-20 at Post Office Road 13 days ago, but Mullally insisted: “We can’t let that be a factor.
“We’ve been there quite a bit, we are affiliated with Fev.
“We’d rather have been at home, but it could have been at a worse place.”