Richie Myler puts hand up for Leeds Rhinos full-back role - but says he will do what's best for the team
Reigning Lance Todd Trophy winner Richie Myler says he would like to play full-back for Leeds Rhinos this year.
With first-choice Jack Walker back on the long-term casualty list, Myler is a leading candidate for the role and confirmed that’s where he believes he best fits into the current team.
Winger Ash Handley, top try scorer in Betfred Super League last year, is another option, but Myler filled in successfully when Walker suffered his foot injury 13 months ago.
Myler, though, stressed he has also trained in other positions and will adapt to whatever is best for the side as a whole.
Stand-off Rob Lui will miss the start of the season after tearing a quad muscle in training and fellow play-makers Luke Gale (pectoral muscle) and Callum McLelland (ankle) are both racing to be fit after surgery.
However, Leeds last week brought ex-St Helens half Kyle Eastmond back to Super League from rugby union and Myler pledged: “I would like to play full-back.” The 30-year-old former Warrington Wolves and Catalans Dragons man said: “I am more of an asset to the team, with our current dynamic, at full-back, I think.
“If Kyle can bed himself in and we’ve got Rob to come back from injury and Galey at seven, that’s probably the best role for me within the team.
“But it is a case of me being adaptable again and, I think, the whole team being adaptable.
“That has been a lot of what we have focused our last couple of years on as a group - it is a common goal.”
Myler insisted: “It is irrelevant where individuals play, it is a case of what works best week-in and week-out for the team.
“Some weeks it might work out better for me to play in a different position and someone else play there.
“I think it’s just a case of being open-minded. I am certainly being open-minded.
“It is unfortunate we’ve had injuries and it’s a case of the team being adaptable and, whatever role we turn out on a game day, it’s important what we do as a group, not individually.”
Before last year Myler had been a half-back throughout his career, but he is enjoying the change, in his 15th pre-season.
“We have had a couple of boys out injured, so I have been in about nine different positions,” he reflected.
“It has been all right, it has been a bit of fun.
“It has been refreshing, I have been doing it for 14 years, playing in the half-back role and you have to be more conscious of the whole team and how the whole team looks.
“Fortunately, that pressure is now on Galey’s shoulders. He thrives on that kind of demand on himself.
“It has kind of given me a new lease of life, I have been able to think about my own game and what I bring to the team.
“That is what I’ve been focusing on.”
Myler said he went into pre-season with an “open mind” about where he would be playing this year.
“Last year I played hooker, I played six, I played seven and I played full-back,” he recalled.
“I really enjoyed playing full-back, that was where I felt most comfortable last year, but I have come in this season with a mindset on just being adaptable and seeing where I am needed to play and what position I am needed to be.
“With Jack unfortunately being out for a period of time, that freed up a spot to play full-back more regularly if I am given the chance.
“Then again, we’ve got a couple of halfs [injured] - Galey and Rob. Galey is almost back, which is a good thing, but we are down on halfs.
“It is more a case of me just focusing on myself again and on what put me in a good mindset and a good position for last year.
“I thought I went into it with an open mind and kind of just rolled with it as it presented itself.
“I think that’s kind of the attitude I am going with this year. Wherever I am chucked in to play, I am happy to play. I just want to play.”