'Nervous' Rhyse Martin looking forward to Leeds Rhinos' Super League return

After almost five months without any rugby, Leeds Rhinos marksman Rhyse Martin’s main concern is if he can still remember how to play.

Tuesday, 7th July 2020, 4:33 pm

The goal kicking second-rower will link up with his teammates next Monday when Rhinos begin training for their return to action against Huddersfield Giants on Sunday, August 2.

“It has been a long time so I am a little bit nervous,” Martin conceded.

“I just want to get back into the first week of training and see if I can remember how to play!”

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Rhyse Martin. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Betfred Super League players have been keeping fit alone, at home, since the competition was suspended because of coronavirus on March 16.

Revised fixtures are due to be announced this week and Martin said: “I’d like to think I’ve kept myself in good shape, but I am not too sure how I will cope with the contact.

“I have been doing a fair bit with a few of the lads; from a few weeks ago we’ve been getting together in a group of six and other than that I have been playing a bit of golf, I’ve bought myself a bike and I’ve been doing little things like that.”

Next Monday will be the first time Rhinos have met up as a full squad since mid-March.

Rhyse Martin runs at the Toronto defence in Rhinos' last match before the shutdown. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

“It has been a long time,” Martin - the Papua New Guinea captain - reflected.

“It was a bit weird in the first six-week block and when we lifted off the full restrictions it was good to see anybody.

“It is hard to keep that training motivation when you are by yourself.

“I’d train good for a week, then have a week of no motivation.

Rhyse Martin, right - pictured with Rhinos teammate Ash Handley - starred for Papua New Guinea in last autumn's internationals.

“Once we were able to get together it was a lot better to be able to stick to a bit more of a routine.”

With at least 15 rounds to fit in between August and late-November, teams will get only three weeks’ full training before their first game back.

Martin warned: “I think when we do go back the restrictions on the wrestle and all that might affect us.

“I don’t know what that’s going to be like yet, but I am sure they [Rhinos’ training staff] will be smart with what we do contact-wise.

“I think three weeks should be enough.”

The big question surrounding Rhinos is can they pick up from where they left off?

They were third in the table and on a four-match winning run when the competition was suspended, but Martin admitted it will take a while for teams to fully find their feet.

“I think everyone’s going to be in the same boat,” he predicted.

“We are starting fresh; we could click straight away or it could take a week or two, but I am confident in the team we’ve got.

“We have got the players there so we can definitely win games.

“I am confident in what we are doing and believe what we are doing is working.

“When we finished everyone was enjoying playing and enjoying each other’s company so I think if we go back with the same mindset we will be ready to go.”

Everyone has had to make sacrifices during the health crisis, Martin more than most.

He was due to marry partner Vanessa at the end of October, but that plan has been abandoned.

Though the wedding will still go ahead at some stage, Martin confirmed: “We’ve had to cancel. We tried to postpone it, but at the time we weren’t sure what was happening with the season and how long it’s going to run.

“We were going to get married on October 31, but that’s the middle of the season now.

“Vanessa is annoyed by it; I think she has moved on, but when we first had to make the decision it wasn’t an easy one to make.

“We just want to get our lives back to normal, like everyone else.”

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