Luke Gale: Why Leeds Rhinos are more than just a nine-day Super League wonder

WATCHING GAMES on TV is not good for my blood pressure.

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 6:25 am
Outstanding: Leeds Rhinos hooker-turned-half-back, Kruise Leeming. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe/JPIMedia.
Outstanding: Leeds Rhinos hooker-turned-half-back, Kruise Leeming. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe/JPIMedia.

Being banned, I’ve not been allowed to go to our last two matches, against Leigh and Warrington, because of the Covid restrictions. Apparently, another team have been fined for having someone who was banned in their changing rooms, so I’ve been staying well clear.

I am not a good spectator anyway, I like to be in among it, so the best place for me when I’m not playing is sitting on the sofa at home, riding every emotion.

It was hard work just watching on Monday, but what an effort from the boys.

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Outstanding: Leeds Rhinos hooker, Brad Dwyer. Picture: Simon Hulme/JPIMedia.

It has been outstanding, how we’ve gone from Salford to Leigh to Warrington and managed to turn them all over in the space of nine days.

The Warrington game was our best victory of the season. They were in great form, but we showed loads of character and courage.

The last 15 minutes was a bit like Armageddon, there were bodies everywhere, we had two sin-binned and the way we held out was fantastic.

We’d given ourselves a buffer in the first half and we managed to grind it out.

Outstanding: Leeds Rhinos centre-turned-full-back, Liam Sutcliffe. Picture: Bruce Rollinson/JPIMedia.

I thought for three-quarters of the game, we were fantastic. In the last 20 things were against us, but you saw after the game how much it meant to the boys.

The spirit in the camp is really high at the moment, even if we’re a bit fatigued. We’ve said all along, we have got a good squad. Things haven’t panned out for us how we wanted them to and we weren’t at our best earlier in the year, but no one lost faith.

We are starting to show now, with a few more players available, what we are capable of.

We have got some combinations going and things are starting to come together.

Outstanding: Leeds Rhinos prop, Matt Prior. Picture: Simon Hulme/JPIMedia.

Once we get our strongest squad on the field, I think we will be a tough team to beat.

I am itching to get back out there against Catalans on Friday, if I can get my spot back from Kruise Leeming.

He has done a great job in the halves and Brad Dwyer has been fantastic as our starting nine. Kruise is a smart footballer and his skill level is very high, which is showing out there at seven.

Brad has had to play 80 minutes in all three games and I’ll hear plenty over the next few weeks about how sore his body is, because he likes to tell you, but he has been outstanding.

It’s fantastic how he has got the energy to keep doing what he is doing. I also think Liam Sutcliffe has been outstanding at full-back, deputising for Richie Myler.

He is one of those incredibly talented players who can fill in anywhere. He has gone to full-back and looks like he has been playing it most of his career.

A special mention also to Priz, Matt Prior. When I watch him, I spend half the time laughing at some of the stuff he does. He is that unorthodox, some of what he does is crazy, but he is massively effective and you can see how much of a leader he is. I am glad he got Monday’s man-of-the-match award because some of what he does goes unnoticed, but not to his team-mates.

As for Friday, I just want to help out as much as I can. I’ve gone from tearing my pec in pre-season, to playing a couple of games and then breaking my thumb, not playing for a month because of Covid, playing two games in three days and then getting suspended for two weeks.

The season is crazy; it has been so stop-start. It’s probably three weeks since I had a team training session with the boys so it has been frustrating, but I can’t wait to get back out there at Headingley in front of our fans and, hopefully, normal service is resumed.