After an injury hit season at Headingley last year, Leeds Rhinos are hoping for a stronger start to the Super League campaign and keeping their first choice spine on the field and Kruise Leeming has branded it “an international level spine.”
“In terms of rating a spine, its an international level spine. They have played in NRL Grand Finals, Super League Grand Finals, international test matches. The pedigree is there. Last year it was a similar spine but the injuries we had, Richie Myler got injured straight away, Sezer was then out, as much as we are professionals and we can go out there and take a field, it’s when you don’t have to talk to each other as a spine that brings you together and gels you together and you can only get that by playing together and training together and we have had a lot of time together and pre-season games.
“It is not the be all and end all but has given us a great opportunity.”
As part of that spine, Leeming wants to be the best hooker in the league:
“My aim is to be the best nine in the comp. If that gets me in the England squad, it gets me in and it should do. My aim is to play my best for Leeds. I may have been a bit guilty last year of looking at the bigger picture too much. For me it’s about taking each step as it comes.”
“Yeah it would be a great honour as it was last year. Which way Rohan goes with, I’d love to do it, but whoever he goes with will get my full support. I am ready to go.”
Part of what makes Leeming so good is his support play. Leeming opened up on how he became so good at it:
“I wish it did come naturally, you have to be super fit to do it. You see the tries, but it is the ones that don’t come your way when you’re pushing through or when someone gets tackled, they take the juice out of you. But you have to keep pushing. Out of 300 plays in a game, there might be three breaks and I pride myself on being there.
“You have to be super fit to do it and in training practice the movements, if there is a break in training I want to be there.
“I feel fitness is the biggest driver of our sport, you can be as good as you want but fatigue makes fools of us all. We play a tough sport and there are going to be times where I will be blowing, but if I can limit those I can push on more plays and be involved in more of the game.
“The fitter you get the more of the 80 minutes you can play and not being a bystander.”