Luke Gale’s ‘View From The Pitch’ - Playing in front of fans will give all teams a lift

IT FEELS like we have got our sport back.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 8:46 am
Zane Tetevano should make a welcome return to action for Leeds Rhinos against Hull FC. Picture: Steve Riding.

Crowds have returned, summer’s coming and things are looking up.

It really feels like rugby league is moving in the right direction now, after such a difficult 14 months since the pandemic began, and that is great to see.

I was at Warrington on Monday working for Sky and the atmosphere was fantastic with fans back in the stands and on the terraces.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Leeds Rhinos' Richie Myler is likely to revert to full-back against Hull FC. Picture: Steve Riding.

Even with the stadium a quarter full, there was an amazing buzz around the place and I can’t wait to experience something similar when we play Hull FC at Emerald Headingley.

We drew the short straw last week, playing the final game behind closed doors, but we had to fulfil the fixture for Sky and we’ll be raring to go in front of a 4,000 home crowd this weekend.

It will be massively exciting and there’s already a real anticipation at training, though with us playing at 7.30pm on a Sunday we can’t get ahead of ourselves.

We’ll build the week up slowly but playing in front of fans will make a big difference and it’ll lift both teams.

Leeds Rhinos captain Luke Gale was taken by surprise when team-mate Kyle Eastmond, pictured, announced his retirement from the game. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.

Huddersfield ran out first at Warrington and it was the only time I’ve seen the home crowd give the away team a standing ovation!

It was interesting that four of the five home teams on Monday lost, so we’ll be trying to buck the trend. It’s fair to say we’ll have to be better than we were last Friday against Wakefield.

You could sense it was two teams struggling for form and we played like that.

It was very scrappy and we know we are going to have to improve.

Hull FC lost to Catalans on Monday but I think they have started the season well and they are a quality team.

It is a perfect opportunity for us, though.

We will go under the radar a bit because we haven’t made a great start but that suits us down to the ground.

We have just got to start building now; we need to kick-start our season and, hopefully, last Friday’s result can do that.

It was a game we just had to chalk off with a win.

It wasn’t a great performance by any stretch but we got the job done and that’s the most important thing.

I am confident we can build on it and improve and getting a couple of big players back in Richie Myler and Zane Tetevano will help us.

We have missed Zane in the middle; I think he started the season really well and Richie being on the field helps our attack so much.

He is my eyes and I think you will see a lot more fluid attack on Sunday night with him out there. Jack Broadbent has stepped in and done a good job but he would be the first to admit he is not a full-back.

Richie gives us a lot more prowess on attack and I am excited to get back playing with him, for only the second time this year.

I rate him very highly as a full-back; he helps my game massively and does the same for the team, so I can’t wait to see him back out there.

I said in my column last week I was looking forward to playing alongside Kyle Eastmond, so it was a surprise when he announced his retirement. He tried to get on the pitch but he’d possibly had too long out of the game.

The sport has changed a lot since Kyle went to rugby union a decade ago; it’s a lot quicker and the tempo is higher.

He had a year out between finishing with Leicester Tigers and joining us and he would be the first to admit his body can’t get where he wants it to. It is a massive shame, for him and the club. We tried it and it didn’t work out but I want to congratulate him on a great career because there’s not many people do what he has done - playing for England in both codes.

He was a success in league, went to union and was an outstanding player there as well. He wanted to finish his career back in the game where he started and things didn’t happen the way we or he wanted them to but he’s a great lad and I wish him all the best.

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click HERE to subscribe.