Tom Holroyd’s anxious to make up for lost time at Leeds Rhinos
LEEDS RHINOS have gone from famine to feast, with a month between games followed by four fixtures in 13 days – and that’s perfect for young forward Tom Holroyd.
The 20-year-old played for the first time this year when Rhinos won 38-12 at Salford Red Devils four days ago.
That was Rhinos’ return to action after a day short of a month on the sidelines, because of a bye weekend for the Challenge Cup semi-finals, followed by two postponements owing to a coronavirus outbreak.
Leeds are back in action this evening at home to Betfred Super League’s bottom club Leigh Centurions, visit Warrington Wolves on Monday and return to Headingley a week tomorrow against table-toppers Catalans Dragons.
It is a daunting schedule, particularly with five Rhinos players having also featured in last Friday’s international, but Holroyd sees it as an opportunity to make up lost time and regain match fitness.
“That’s what I need, game experience, to get a bit of an edge to my game,” he stated.
“I am looking forward to the games we’ve got and hopefully I get selected.”
Holroyd, one of Rhinos’ substitutes at Salford, is “buzzing” to be back in the team.
“It’s good to get my feet back on the field,” he reflected.
“It has been a long wait, this injury has been a long one so it was good to get back on and get back with the team and get a win.”
He was “pleased” with his personal performance and added: “I set out just to carry hard and do my job as a middle.
“I think I did that pretty well, but there’s more to come from me, definitely.
“I have got to keep working at it.”
The former England academy prop, a product of the Siddal community club in Halifax, confirmed he got through the game with no ill-effects to his leg or lungs.
“I was fine, I feel good,” he said.
“I think I was carried through with how buzzing I was about getting the win and back playing.
“That’s all I’ve thought about for months on end so it is good to be back.”
Having impressed Rhinos’ coaching staff in pre-season, Holroyd was set to feature in the opening game of the year, against Wakefield Trinity, but suffered a freak injury in training, fracturing a leg when his foot got caught in the turf.
That was a sickening blow for a player who missed the end of the 2020 campaign because of a hand injury, but – with only 13 senior games under his belt – he stressed: “Everything is a learning curve.
“Anything that gets thrown at me I have got to react positively to and I have got to come off the back of that better than I went into it.
“Every injury I get, I always come out better.”
Holroyd felt Leeds’ team performance at Salford was a “good effort”, particularly after Bodene Thompson was sent-off and Luke Gale sin-binned.
He recalled: “We stuck together and I was really proud of the lads, how we went forward with it and got our heads down and got the win.
“We are Leeds Rhinos and we want to be aiming for the top spots and challenging for, if not the top-four, first and second.
“We are definitely looking to compete in this latter end of the season.”
Tonight’s visitors Leigh haven’t won this term, but have gone close in some of their defeats.
Three extra days’ rest makes them a potential banana skin and Holroyd warned: “You can’t write off any team.
“Everyone is going to turn up and want to win, we are playing Super League so we can’t write them off.
“They are competitive, but we’ve got to do a good job on them.”
It will be only Rhinos’ second home game in front of a crowd since March last year and the previous one was a defeat, to Hull.
Holrloyd stressed the team are keen to give their supporters something to celebrate.
“That’s the great thing about Leeds, the fans,” he said.
“We need to be winning and getting them back behind us and it will be good to play in front of friends and family again.
“If I play against Leigh it will be the first game in a long time for my family and that definitely makes a difference.
“It means a lot to me, having family there.”
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