Leeds veteran Rob Burrow feels that last season’s dismal league performance by the Rhinos could actually herald the start of a new era of success for the club.
The way the club struggled with injury and other disruption to the squad in 2016 reminds Burrow of the beginning of his own senior career at the club in 2001.
“Last year was very similar to the first year that people like Danny McGuire and me got our chance,” he told Love Rugby League.
“2001 was a poor year with injuries to senior players, and that enabled us to get our chance, and we didn’t look back from there.
“In any negative injury situation, whatever it was, the lads stood up last season and played really well.
“The knowledge they get from their experience of that, is invaluable.
“So it reminds me very much of 2001, and we had a bit of successfull stint not long after that.”
Last season’s lacklustre league performance was something that the Rhinos are using to shape their preparations for the new seson, with new lessons being learned.
“Thankfully, we’ve been used to being involved in semis and finals and success over the years, so it really opened us up to what it’s like for others,” Burrow explained.
“Losses are probably as important as winning, because you learn from them.
“Last year wasn’t a great year, but we used it to experience what it was like missing out on the big games and watching them on telly.
“You’ve got to turn a negative into a positive, and that’s what we’ve done with that.
“We’ve put it to bed, and hopefully it won’t happen again.
“We’re different, fresh and we’d like to think we’ve learned from it now.”
On a personal level, the 34-year-old pivot feels as motivated and excited by rugby league as he was when he began his career.
“Mentally, I’m like it’s day one,” he said.
“I feel great, I feel sharp. The only thing that gets you as you get older is recovery time, but that’s been like that for the last few years.
“You recover from games a bit slower than you used to do, but it gets managed well by the club.
“I feel great.”