Loanee Joe Greenwood relishing challenge at 'hometown' club Leeds Rhinos

LOAN SIGNING Joe Greenwood admits his move to Leeds Rhinos is a “challenge”, but has pledged to meet it head on.

By Peter Smith
Thursday, 5th March 2020, 6:03 am

The England Knights forward joined Rhinos last week and could make his debut at home to Toronto Wolfpack today.

“I am loving it,” he said of his first few days at Leeds.

“Everyone has made me feel welcome. Kev [Sinfield, Rhinos’ director of rugby] and Rich [Agar, coach] sat me down and said what they wanted and I am looking forward to the challenge when I get called up.”

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Leeds Rhinos new loan signing Joe Greenwood in training this week.

Greenwood has played as a second-rower in the past, but Agar confirmed last week he sees him as a middle-unit player for Leeds.

“When Rich and Kev first chatted to me they said they were looking for a middle,” Greenwood said.

“With their style of play, I have got an off-load in my game so it suits. I will be playing through the middle a little bit and I have been training back-row as well.”

The move came about quickly, the deal being done within 48 hours of Greenwood first learning of Rhinos’ interest.

Joe Greenwood

“It was a week last Sunday,” he said. It came out of the blue a little bit. My manager rang me and said ‘Leeds are looking for a middle, what are your thoughts on that?’.

“I said ‘yes, I’ll look forward to it’. It’s a new challenge and, in your career, you’ll face a lot of challenges.

“They sorted the deal on Monday. Kev rang me and explained the situation, I was on the phone to him for a while and I also got a call off Rich Agar.

“He laid everything out and on Tuesday morning I signed.”

Joe Greenwood.

Greenwood spent five seasons with St Helens before moving to Gold Coast Titans in 2017.

He returned to Super League with Wigan midway through 2018, making his debut against Leeds at DW Stadium.

Capped by England at the end of that season, he played 21 times for Wigan last year, but has not featured for them in 2019.

“At Wigan they have got a full team, they are fully loaded at the moment, there’s no injuries and the back-rowers have been playing really well,” he said.

Leeds Rhinos director of rugby Kevin Sinfield.

“I’d have to wait for one of them to go down before I get my chance, but when an opportunity came here it was a chance to get playing again, it’s a great set of lads and I am looking forward to the challenge.”

Not many players get to leave Wigan and join a club of equal stature.

Greenwood said: “Leeds is massive.

“I didn’t really need to think hard about it because of the history and the culture of the club, where they’ve been and what they’ve won.

“It is something I want to be a part of in my career.

“You never know when you are going to get another chance, because it’s a short career.

“When the opportunity came I took it with both hands.”

Despite – or perhaps because of – coming from the Oldham area, Greenwood was a Leeds fan as a youngster.

He explained: “It was because of Barrie Mac [McDermott] and Kev, because they are Oldham lads.

“When I was young I played for Saddleworth Rangers and I used to watch Leeds quite a lot.

“I had the yellow kit with Barrie McDermott on the back.

“He’ll hate me saying that because it’ll make him feel old, but I used to come and watch Leeds quite a bit.

“With being at Saddleworth it wasn’t far so I used to support them when I was young. It’s strange how it works out.”

Of the prospect of making his debut tomorrow, Greenwood said: “We’ve done a bit of review on Toronto and they like throwing the ball about a bit. It is a tough one in defence and they ran Warrington close the other week.

“But the lads played extremely well last week and to nil Warrington like that was unbelievable.

“We have to back it up and it’s going to be a big challenge. We are looking forward to that challenge.

“We need to keep going on the way up, keep building momentum and hopefully we’ll have a good season.”