Leeds Rhinos: Winger Briscoe can see a bright future for Leeds

Tom Briscoe
Tom Briscoe
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LEEDS RHINOS winger Tom Briscoe admits he is relieved a disappointing season is now over, but feels they can look ahead to next year with renewed confidence.

LEEDS RHINOS winger Tom Briscoe admits he is relieved a disappointing season is now over, but feels they can look ahead to next year with renewed confidence.

Briscoe was among the try scorers when Leeds closed their campaign with a 37-12 win over Leigh Centurions two days ago.

That meant they topped the First Utility Qualifiers table with six wins from their seven matches.

After losing all but three of their opening 19 games in all competitions, Rhinos picked up 11 victories from their final 13.

Rhinos finished the year the way they began it, with a lengthy injury list, but the spirited performance against Leigh, who were unbeaten since April, gave them something to build on in pre-season.

Briscoe said: “We wanted to finish with a win, especially at home in front of our own crowd. It was pleasing to put in a good performance to send them off happy for the off-season.”

The victory over Leigh came just four days after Rhinos’ seven-game winning run ended in a 22-14 defeat at Huddersfield Giants.

Leeds were without nine players due to injury, plus another three who are on loan at Featherstone Rovers.

With all three specialist half-backs unavailable, centre Joel Moon and Liam Sutcliffe, who had played the previous 13 games at full-back, filled in the pivotal roles and the combined age of the four substitutes was just 74.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Briscoe said.

“Leigh are a good side, a tough team.

“They showed that throughout these play-offs.

“We had to go into it with the right attitude and I thought we did that.

“I thought we did a professional job and we got the win, which was pleasing.”

Rhinos did not finish playing last year until October 23, when they faced New Zealand in an exhibition game two

weeks after their Grand Final triumph.

The off-season has begun a month earlier this time and Briscoe reckons that will give them a head start in preparations for the 2017 campaign.

“It’s one of those, everyone’s glad to see the back of it [the season] and hopefully we can go on to bigger and better things next year,” he said.

“We’ve finished with six wins out of seven in the Qualifiers and we won five of our last six in the league.

“We have got a lot of confidence to take from that and a lot of things to work on.

“That’s what the pre-season is for.”

Briscoe played in Rhinos’ final nine games after two separate injury layoffs earlier in the year.

He said: “I think I really benefited, when I first came here from Hull, with a full pre-season.

“That was the first one I had ever done and hopefully it’ll be the same again.

“It was good to finish the year with some games under my belt.

“The last couple of years has been a bit up and down with injuries, but fingers crossed for next year, hopefully I can crack on and have a good year.

“We have suffered quite a lot with injuries this year and on a personal note, I have for the past two years. Hopefully it’ll be better next season.”

Zak Hardaker in action for Castleford against Wigan last year. PIC: Anna Gowthorpe/SWpix.com

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