Run hard and tackle hard - Leeds Rhinos' Zane Tetevano sets out his Super League battle plan ahead of Wakefield Trinity derby
New enforcer Zane Tetevano will go into battle for Leeds Rhinos today with a simple personal gameplan - run hard and tackle hard.
The New Zealand-born prop is expected to make his Betfred Super League debut in the round one derby against Wakefield Trinity at Emerald Headingley.
After just a month in this country, he knows it could take him a while to adjust to new conditions and a different competition, but the 30-year-old powerhouse doesn't plan on holding back.
“I am very excited, this is what I do for a living and I love it,” Tetevano said of his first chance to show his new club what he can do.
“I love the game of rugby league and I am excited for getting to play with my new teammates.
“We have just got to start well and I guess for my game it is pretty simple - just run hard and tackle hard.
“It is going to be a challenging year, there’s going to be some ups and downs, but I am very excited to be taking that on.”
Today is officially Trinity’s home game, but all round one fixtures are being played behind closed doors at Headingley.
Coach Richard Agar has not revealed his team plans, but Tetevano - who was presented with his debut jersey by club legend Rob Burrow - confirmed he is over the hamstring problem which kept him out of Rhinos’ only pre-season game, at Huddersfield Giants two weeks ago.
He said: “I was keen to play against Huddersfield, but I pulled up pretty tight in my hamstring and [the coaching staff] were just a bit wary.
“I have never trained on a 3g field before, ever, so it is quite new to me and it’s something I have got to get used to.
“It’s just how it is and as time has gone on I’ve actually enjoyed training on the 3g field.
“You are going to get some conditions where fields aren’t that great and you’re going to get some nice ones - some hard ones - so it is what it is, you’ve just got to adapt to it.
“If selected, I’ll definitely be ready to go; at the same time I am still finding my way through and still working hard on everything I do and just working on my craft.”
A Grand Finalist in two of the past three NRL seasons, for Sydney Roosters and Penrith Panthers, Tetevano also has World Cup experience with Cook Islands and played for New Zealand in their last three Tests.
He continued to train with Penrith in Australia before jetting to England and reckons the facilities, way things are done at Leeds and young players in the squad are all on a part with what he is used to in the NRL.
“The club has been really great from the start,” he reflected.
“Everything that comes with being in a new team has been overwhelmingly great; the teammates are great, the coaching staff are and obviously the organisation as well.
“It is very professional here, they have quality players right through the team and even the academy kids who are coming through have really blown my mind with the professionalism and the skill sets they have.”
These are still early days for Tetevano, but from what he has seen so far - including in the 22-16 loss to Giants - he feels Leeds are in for a good year.
A keen observer from pitchside at Huddersfield, he described that game as part of Rhinos’ “learning process” and insisted: “We are just trying to build a foundation at the moment.
“The academy boys who have come up to the full-time squad came up with the goods, they played really well.
“Obviously there’s a lot to work on, it is only the start of the year, but I am very excited for the new year.
“It should be exciting times and I think the Leeds fans should be excited for it.”
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