Luke Gale’s View From The Pitch - Just one win can swing Leeds Rhinos’ losing momentum

IT FEELS good to be preparing for a game again and to be going into it feeling like I am fully ready to play.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 5:51 am
Leeds Rhinos half-back Kyle Eastmond. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.

I wasn’t where I would want to be at the start of the season, because I missed most of pre-season with my pec’ injury, so fracturing my thumb was a bit of a blessing in disguise.

You never want to be injured and it has been tough for the team in the interim and frustrating for me personally, but I have got the all-clear now and the last few weeks have been good, in a way, because I have had chance to train.

The injury has given me a kind of mini pre-season, a four-week one, running-wise and I’ve been able to get some strength into my pec’ as well.

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Leeds Rhinos' Luke Gale. Picture: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com.

I have been on a programme with Dan Grange the assistant conditioner, and he has been great.

He looks after the injured boys and gets you back into shape to play and I want to thank him for the work he has put in.

There’s been a few tough running sessions, but the blessing was, it was a thumb injury so I’ve been able to train.

It was a bit tricky in the gym, holding the weights, but I am definitely feeling the benefits and I’m hoping you’ll see that against Wakefield at Headingley on Friday night.

Leeds Rhinos assistant conditioner Dan Grange. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe/JPIMedia.

I am definitely in a better place now than I was leading up to round one a couple of months ago.

I had a week’s training before the first Wakey game and my pec’ was at 11 weeks since the injury which, in an ideal world, is probably not even ready to play.

I fast tracked that through and, while it’s good to be out there, you want to be at your best physically, or as near to it as possible.

Having said all that, it is always hard having to watch, especially when the team is struggling for results and having to chop and change all the time like we have been doing.

Liam Sutcliffe has been covering the injury-hit half-back role for Leeds Rhinos. Picture: Simon Hulme/JPIMedia.

There has been no consistency whatsoever in the team this season, but, touch wood, that will change over the next few weeks as players start to come back.

At Monday’s training we had our left-edge back for the first time since the end of last year – me, Alex Mellor, Liam Sutcliffe and Ash Handley. It was a good reunion, though Sutty also jumped back in at stand-off for a bit as well.

We just need to get the team back out on the field and get some form.

I’ve been in this situation before, where you lose a few on the bounce, and you just need a win.

We are under no illusions about Friday; we know it isn’t going to be an easy game but, if we get that win, we can build some momentum.

That can come as quickly as it goes; when you lose and lose and lose it is hard to stop the rot but, if you get into a run of wins, the momentum that builds up can take you a long way.

We would rather have been in the Cup quarter-finals last week, but the weekend without a game was a chance for the boys to freshen up mentally.

Training was good last week; we just played some mini games and competed, and the energy was really high.

On Monday we started to focus on Wakefield so the break was good and came at the right time, but now we are getting to the crunch and we have to come out swinging. It will be interesting to play alongside Kyle Eastmond for the first time.

He missed the Huddersfield game with a hamstring injury, but trained on Monday and got through fine.

For Kyle, it has been tough coming into a team that’s struggling for a bit of form and he hasn’t had a consistent half-back partner yet, so I think we just have to simplify the game for him.

Hopefully, the partnership will come good and we’ll see the fruits of it on Friday. I think Kyle just needs to have a good game to get his season going and his rugby league career back on track.

He looks really sharp in training and, this week, he doesn’t need to worry about having to grab the game by the scruff of the neck, because I can do that.

That will take the pressure off, simplify his job and let him bring his running game into it so, hopefully, we’ll see the best from him.

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