Why new Leeds Rhinos signing Bodene Thompson cancelled his own day off after debut defeat at Wigan Warriors

New signing Bodene Thompson cancelled his own day off yesterday, the morning after his Leeds Rhinos debut.

Tuesday, 18th August 2020, 6:00 am

The 32-year-old New Zealand-born forward put in a solid shift for an hour of Rhinos’ 28-10 loss to Wigan Warriors, played behind closed doors at St Helens.

But he stressed he expects better of himself and wants to make every moment count before Leeds’ next game, against Salford Red Devils at Warrington on Saturday, August 29.

Thompson joined Rhinos from Toronto Wolfpack last Wednesday and had limited time before starting in the second-row against Wigan for his first game since March.

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Bodene Thompson during hsi debut against Wigan. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

He reflected: “It was a disappointing result, but I was very grateful to get an opportunity and to play 60-something minutes and get a first hit-out.

“But I was very disappointed we lost and not happy as well with my performance, so plenty to work on.

“That’s just my standards; I am hard on myself. I came to training this [yesterday] morning and flogged myself with the boys that didn’t play, because I was annoyed I didn’t play 80 minutes and I was not as fit as I can be.

“I know you get match fitness when you play consistently game after game after game and it just comes. Sometimes you can do all the running in the world, but you play your game and you’re not there.

Bodene Thompson has signed for Leeds until the end of this season. Picture by Phil Daly.

“It was mainly that - and I made one error so I was annoyed about that.”

Thompson has signed for Leeds until the end of this season after Toronto withdrew from Betfred Super League, but admitted what happens after that is “all up in the air”.

He said: “It is a bit of a confusing one because I agreed a few months ago to a three-year extension with Toronto from next year. Obviously Leeds is an awesome club and who knows? I would have to make a decision if Leeds did want to keep me on, what’s best for me and my partner. I’d have to see what my partner wanted to do, but I’d be humbled if I got a contract offer here.”

Rhinos have recorded a golden-point win and back-to-back defeats since super League resumed after coronavirus, but Thompson - who played in Wolfpack’s 66-12 loss at Emerald Headingley in March - believes good times are around the corner.

Toronto's Championship Grand Final win over Featherstone last year featured a try by Bodene Thompson. Picture by Vaughn Ridley/SWpix.com.

“Obviously last week [against St Helens] was a bit of a blow out, but I thought this week the boys had a red-hot crack and the intent and the effort was there for sure,” he added.

“I thought we ended our sets the wrong way, maybe handing the ball over too easily and there were a few handling errors.

“We put ourselves under a lot of pressure, but I think those are just learning curves. Sometimes the ball does roll that way and you have to defend it set after set after set.

“That’s what the good teams and the teams that get to Grand Finals do. Even if they complete at 40 per cent they’ll still defend those, because that’s how fit they are and how much they want it. It is a good grind to get into.”

Almost two weeks to the next game will give Thompson time to settle in and “start learning the plays”. He stressed: “I can start getting a feel for how people play and get the feel of training in a team. I haven’t had that for a few months. Just doing that every couple of days helps so I will definitely be taking advantage of that over the next couple of weeks.”

Thompson suffered a bloodied head in the game two days ago, but insisted: “It’s fine, just a cut. It’s just a gash in my eyebrow, it’s sweet - nothing wrong.”

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