Tom Briscoe is set to play in a third Grand Final for the Leeds Rhinos this weekend, but that seemed like an unlikely outcome earlier in the season.
Briscoe joined the Rhinos ahead of 2014 from Hull FC and played his part in many memorable final wins. The winger scored in the 2014 and 2020 Challenge Cup Final wins as well as scoring a record breaking five tries in the 2015 Wembley Final.
An Old Trafford winner in 2015 as well, he went on to score two tries in the 2017 Grand Final win against Castleford.
Briscoe’s legacy however didn’t see him keep the number two shirt going into this season, instead he returned to his first Leeds squad number, 20. No longer first choice right winger nor first choice in the position he adopted last year, centre, Briscoe’s chances of playing in a Grand Final this season took another massive hit when he copped an ankle injury against Toulouse.
Of course, Leeds’ hopes of making the Grand Final were all but gone anyway given that day saw the Rhinos pick up only the second win of the campaign after a torrid start to the year.
However, Rohan Smith’s arrival sparked them into life with an amazing run of form that would ultimately lead them back to the Theatre of Dreams. Even then though, Briscoe was forced to watch on from the outside as he battled against the injury even suffering a setback.
However, the former Hull FC man somehow found his way back to the field where he has been brilliant since making his comeback off the bench against Huddersfield.
The injuries picked up by David Fusitu’a and Ash Handley have now seen him return to that right wing spot that he was once synonymous with as he bows out at Leeds in an unlikely Grand Final after the club confirmed he’d be moving on in 2023.
This morning, Briscoe spoke about his return from injury and revealed that at one stage he thought he might have played his last game for the club as he struggled with injury, watched Fusitu’a and Handley playing so well and with his contract coming to an end.
“At times I thought there’d be a chance that I wouldn’t play for Leeds again,” Briscoe said, “The injury was prolonged and things weren’t recovering at the pace that I wanted to see and to see the guys playing so well and going on the run that they went on, things start going through your mind.
“You just stick to it as a player, I’ve been injured before I know the process and yeah you’ve got to stick with your rehab and believe that you’ll get there and thankfully I have and I have an opportunity on Saturday.”
Now, Briscoe sits on the precipice of history and a third Super League title. A veteran of the game, the Rhinos will need his experience to claim an unlikely Grand Final win over the Champions.
As for 2023, Briscoe will be hoping to go into as a Super League Champion as he takes up a new challenge thought to be at Leigh Centurions.