Handley keen to impress in Briscoe’s absence


Ash Handley wants to repay the faith shown in him by Brian McDermott by performing well in the absence of Tom Briscoe in the Leeds Rhinos team. 

Handley was on dual-registration with Featherstone Rovers at the start of this season, however was thrust into Leeds’ team following Briscoe’s ankle injury against Widnes Vikings in round two. 

The 20 year-old is no stranger to the Rhinos first team after playing a huge part in the club’s 2015 season, but admits his confidence needs to build to the level it was it last season.

“I think it all starts again,” Handley told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“I wasn’t in the team for the first few games and, having been thrown back in there, it is going to be hard to adapy, but I will get my confidence soon and get back into the swing of things.”

The winger says the belief displayed by head coach McDermott is a huge lift to himself and hopes he can reflect that confidence in his performances on the field.

“Mac saw how I did in training and he has said he has no worries about me coming in, whether it’s one of these games (Super League) or the World Club Challenge, so I have got the confidence of the coaches – I just need to find some myself,” he said.

“I have been a bit nervous over the past couple of weeks. I need to get some games under my bely and build some confidence up.”

Handley played in the Rhinos’ latest Super League game away in the south of France against Catalans Dragons, a game in which Leeds were narrowly beaten, their third defeat of the season. 

Whilst being disappointed at the Rhinos results in recent weeks, Handley says his personal performances have been pleasing and hopefully that can reflect on the whole team’s performance this weekend against Huddersfield. 

“I think I played quite well (last Saturday),” he said.

“I had some decent carries and got over for a try as well. I was happy with my own performance, but obviously we need to work on our team performance and, hopefully, we will get a win this week.”