Written by Callum Walker
Rhyse Martin was one of Leeds’ shining lights in 2019, joining the club midway through year and helping the Rhinos stay in Super League by just four points.
But, 2020 was different to say the least. Martin and Leeds lifted the Challenge Cup with the club turning a difficult corner, though the 28-year-old suffered injury problems towards the back end of the year. The forward is, however, keen to put that behind him.
“I had a few bad injuries along the way which haven’t been that hard to recover from, so I’m settling back into the squad again,” Martin revealed to Everything Rugby League.
“The boys have stepped up really well. There’s been a lot of competing and game-style training so it’s been really enjoyable.
“I’m aiming to play consistently each week and be one of the best players on the park every time I take the field.”
Whilst teammates of Martin were apprehensive to say the least about continuing their careers in England with the continued pandemic and lockdown, that thought never crossed the Australian’s mind. And, those memories of when he first arrived in the UK continue to get him through this tough period.
“For me I always knew it was going to pass over, it was just a matter of how long it was going to take.
“I really enjoyed the game when I first came over when we had crowds; the experience with the fans here was one of the best places to play rugby league.
“I knew it would always get back to there, I don’t honestly think it crossed my mind not to return or stay.”
As we begin our final preparations for the new @RL_superleague season, Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington has written to the club's supporters to thank them for their continued backing of the team
➡ Read in full here https://t.co/NSGOIN1zSa pic.twitter.com/iw3fIbW6xz
— Leeds Rhinos (@leedsrhinos) March 11, 2021
2021 is the last year of Martin’s contract and though other players may want to shrug those thoughts off, the back-rower was keen to emphasise the desire to get things sorted.
“It always crosses your mind; when every player gets to their last year, they think about it – it’s only natural.
“For me, I’ve always been on short-term contracts, so it always comes about.
“All I can do is play good footy and hopefully sort something out, but I’m not too stressed at this stage, I honestly just want to start the season well and let my footy do the talking.
Despite enjoying his time thoroughly at Leeds, Martin would give serious thought to any potential future offer from the NRL – a competition in which he made his debut at the relatively older age of 25.
“It would be silly for me to say no because everyone wants to play at that level, but Leeds have looked after me since the day that I arrived.
“They’ve been really warm and welcoming and I’m really enjoying my time here so I’d definitely like to stay.
“Obviously the NRL is such a high level competition so you would be stupid not to take an offer into consideration.”