Richie Myler is settling into new role with Leeds Rhinos
If there was an award for the best attitude in pre-season, Leeds Rhinos’ Richie Myler would be a strong contender.
The 29-year-old had to cope with the loss of his number seven shirt to new signing Luke Gale, but - after switching to a fresh role as back-up hooker - has been one of Rhinos’ most impressive performers in their three full-scale trial matches.
The real business starts on Sunday when Rhinos play host to Hull in the second part of a double-header also involving Castleford Tigers’ clash with newly-promoted Toronto Wolfpack - mand while Myler will be in a different playing position, he insisted he is happy to be in the team and getting time on the field.
“I am enjoying playing,” the former Widnes, Salford, Warrington and Catalans pivot stressed. “It’s a little bit different to the role I have played most of my life, but I am enjoying it. The boys have been really good and I just want to play.”
Myler was a substitute in all Rhinos’ first team warm-up games, scoring a try in the wins over Bradford Bulls and Wigan Warriors. He added: “I just want to help the team, that’s my goal for this year - whatever role that takes for the group.
“If I am needed to play a back-up role at nine I’ll do that. It might be loads of different roles throughout the year, me and Rich [Agar, Rhinos’ coach] have been on a good page with that. He has been quite open and quite honest and it is working quite well. I am enjoying myself, I’ve got a smile on my face and I am enjoying training.”
The acting-half has his hands on the ball more than any other player and Myler insisted: “It is a totally different role, but when you play seven it’s something you do anyway. I’ve been in there at dummy-half, firing balls around.
“There’s probably a bit more controlling where the play goes, but I am putting my body in front of people and working hard that way. I have been around long enough to know it is a bit of a different game for me, but I’ll keep tipping in and doing my best for the team.”
With number nine Kruise Leeming on the casualty list, Myler is likely to be the interchange hooker on Sunday with Brad Dwyer starting. He was in from day one of training, in early November and is itching to get started. He said: “I think everybody is, the whole league is.
“There’s a good buzz about this year, I think you can see the amount of attention the league is getting and the double-header is going to be a good opener for us here at Headingley.
“We are all chomping at the bit to get going, like every team is. It is a long year and we know we have to work into it, but we want to hit the ground running.
“We know we have a tough game against tough opposition, who will be there or thereabouts this year, in Hull FC.”
The introduction of star names including Toronto’s Sonny Bill Williams, George Burgess at Wigan and Catalans Dragons’ James Maloney has fueled excitement for the new season, which begins tomorrow when Wigan Warriors take on visitors Warrington Wolves.
“I think Super League has really gone out there and forefronted it and pushed it and it has got some media attention with some big names coming in,” Myler noted.
“They’ve been very innovative and gone out there and pushed the boundaries and engaged a lot more people in the sport. I think that’s what we are all craving.
“I’ve played it all my life and I absolutely adore it. Super League in itself is doing really well and I think we can keep building on that. Obviously, the rugby now has to take care of the hype.”
For Rhinos, a good start is important after their recent poor seasons. Myler pledged: “We are working really hard. We are a new team again, we’ve got some new players in and some new combinations, but we play for a club that’s been successful for a long time and has high ambitions.
“We all have high ambitions ourselves, but we know we are a team that works hard for one another and that’s what we are going to build our foundation on.
“If we get that right who knows how far we can go or what we can build into? But our main focus is on Hull. They are going to be a big challenge, they’ve got a big side and a strong side and we know it’s going to be a tough game.”