Why Zane Tetevano is aiming to make up for lost time

Zane Tetevano in action for Leeds
Zane Tetevano in action for Leeds

Leeds forward Zane Tetevano will go into Friday night’s Super League semi-final against St Helens aiming to make up for lost time in his first season in England.

The 30-year-old former Kiwi international has played just half of the Rhinos’ 26 league and cup matches so far in 2021 and says he owes his fellow forwards a big performance as he looks to atone for his absences.The former Newcastle, Sydney Roosters and Penrith loose forward was sent off – for the first time in his career – in his third game in England, for a late tackle in Leeds’ Challenge Cup defeat at St Helens, and subsequently banned for four matches.

He then missed six games through a combination of injury and Covid before picking up a three-match ban after being sin-binned at Wigan for a high tackle.

Players like skipper Matt Prior have helped shoulder much of the workload in his absence and Tetevano admits it is time for him to show his gratitude.

“I owe my team-mates a lot,” he said. “Hopefully I can do that this weekend.

“Matt Prior has played nearly every game this year and I want to help him out that department.

“I’m pretty much fresher than a lot of other players. It was good to get that first game out of the way last week. Obviously I’d been out for three weeks and the body feels good.

“I’m now trying to gather some match fitness. The year hasn’t turned out how I planned but it is what it is, I’m just looking forward to this weekend.”

Matt Prior in action for Leeds
Leeds captain Matt Prior has been hailed by fellow prop Tetevano

Leeds will go to the Totally Wicked Stadium as clear underdogs as Saints look to remain on target for a third successive Grand Final triumph, which would see them match the feat of the Rhinos from 2007-09.

Tetevano, who was a Grand Final winner with Sydney Roosters in 2018, appreciates the size of the task awaiting his team and is hoping he can lend his experience to get them over the line.

“My personal goal was to win a championship, although we can’t look too far ahead,” he said. “This week against Saints is going to be a big one.

“They’re a great side, the form side of the year, them and Catalans. They’re a well-structured team, well drilled defensively and compete hard so we have to step up. We’ve got a big job in front of us.”

Leeds coach Richard Agar is considering making changes to the team which won 8-0 at Wigan, which could mean a return for second-rower Alex Mellor, who has been out for two months with a knee injury and was among a host of absentees when the Rhinos lost 40-6 at Saints three weeks ago.

READ MORE: Leeds ace Harry Newman eyeing Grand Final after overcoming dark days

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