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“They don’t leave us out” – Leeds youngster praises Rhinos’ culture switch

Promising Leeds Rhinos centre Jack Broadbent has revealed how a change in the side’s culture has led to them blitzing opposition sides in 2020.

The eight-time Super League champions have flown out of the blocks this season, winning four of their five games, before the competition was suspended, and sitting third in the table – a far cry from last year’s disappointing eighth-place finish.

Many have highlighted an increase in chemistry and morale as a potential reason for their turnaround in form and Broadbent agrees that, even as one of the youngsters, the bond they all have is much stronger.

“It’s a great atmosphere this year,” he said. “I’ve seen a massive change in the brotherhood and the togetherness.

“We went to Alicante for a pre-season camp and it wasn’t just on-field training. We did so much work in the meeting room, getting our bond together, building relationships off the field and getting to know people’s backgrounds and I think that’s definitely translating into our performances.

Broadbent is in his first season as part of the Rhinos’ first team. Credit: Leeds Rhinos

“The senior players are all class and they just make time for you. They’ll come out of their way to speak to us (young players) and ask how we’re doing even if we’re not playing or they’re not getting to watch our games.

“Even when they do (game) review, they make a point of putting clips up of the young lads who are out on loan or playing reserves. They don’t leave us out, so everyone gets to see what we’re doing as well so that’s really good.”

The 18-year-old is yet to make his competitive debut for the first team, having featured in several pre-season games, including the joint Rob Burrow and Jamie Jones-Buchanan testimonial fundraiser, which he considers the highlight of his career so far.

He did get a taste of senior rugby in the Championship last year, with fruitful spells at Featherstone and hometown club Batley on respective dual-registration and loan deals.

He doesn’t mind waiting in the wings for the time being though, instead viewing his current situation as an opportunity to learn from two of the best centres in the competition and build himself up should a debut finally come around.

“Harry’s (Newman) obviously gone on a similar journey to me,” Broadbent added. “He played Championship and then once he got his breakthrough, he cemented his spot. So it keeps your hopes up, especially with him being so young as well.

“He’s just an athlete, so I’m looking to do the same sort of things him and Koni Hurrell do, so it’s great to have some really good centres to learn from.

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“There’s four or five of us, with Alex Sutcliffe and Liam Sutcliffe as well. We all have a good relationship when we’re doing positional training. If Koni sees I’m not doing something right then he’ll critique it and put me on the right path.

“He knows when to turn it on and off and that’s been a big thing for him – messing about but then knowing when to switch on. A few minutes before kick-off he’ll be singing and chanting but then he’ll go out and play great. I don’t think there’s any other player who can switch it on and off like he does. He’s sort of mastered that.

“Playing for Batley was great because I’ve grown up supporting Batley. We know a lot of people up there, so it was a proud moment making my debut away at Widnes. Everyone came over and watched and we didn’t get the win, but just making that step up to senior rugby, I felt it was just what I needed and it sort of opens your eyes to the game.

“If I went straight from the academy into playing Super League I would have never experienced that physical presence that some of the players have. The Championship’s obviously just the league below so it’s getting me ready for Super League and I think it will push me much closer than playing reserves and academy will.”

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