Former Leeds full-back Richie Mathers is already looking forward to his next game in the NRL after making an impressive debut for the Gold Coast Titans on Monday.
Former Leeds full-back Richie Mathers is already looking forward to his next game in the NRL after making an impressive debut for the Gold Coast Titans on Monday. The Titans suffered a 24-10 home defeat against the North Queensland Cowboys at a rain-soaked Carrara Stadium, although that did little to dampen Mathers' enthusiasm after finally making his NRL bow. The 23-year-old England international had to sit on the sidelines for the opening seven rounds of the season, but was handed his chance after an injury to first-choice full-back Preston Campbell in midweek. While the plaudits will go to Cowboys captain Jonathan Thurston, the current Australian Test scrum-half, Mathers was pleased with his contribution and thrilled to get his first taste of the NRL. "I absolutely loved every minute of it," he said. "Obviously it wasn't the right result for the team but I really enjoyed it and thought I did pretty well. "They were terrible conditions to play in, probably a full-back's nightmare, so I was just glad I was really solid and made no mistakes. "The big aim for me, especially with the conditions, was to be really safe at the back and put in a high work-rate." Mathers, who is on a two-year contract with the Titans, now has a chance of an extended run in the first team with Campbell out for up to six weeks, but he is not taking anything for granted. "With the standard of the NRL, it's on week-to-week form, so just because Presto's out for four to six weeks doesn't mean I'll be starting at full-back for that long," said Mathers. "If I play well and get some form on the board, I'd like to think I can hold that spot down. That's all you can expect and that's all I'd expect if I wasn't in the side, but I thought I did enough to hold my spot for next week." The game was also the latest step in Mathers' recovery from a serious knee injury, suffered while at Leeds last May, which denied him a Great Britain call-up and ruled him out for the rest of the season. Mathers joined up with the Titans in November and his rehabilitation was set back by a chest infection that left him bed-ridden for 10 days. Mathers therefore had to look on as Campbell claimed the number one jersey and led the Titans to a promising start in their inaugural NRL campaign, but the former Rhino believes the experience will make him stronger. "I wasn't training and it was a frustrating period for me, seeing someone playing in my position and not being able to do anything about it," he said. "But full credit to Preston and the boys because they've played really well. I've just had to be patient and wait for my chance, and I knew it would come eventually. "This is the biggest step yet since I've been here, but that's why I came over, to play in the best competition in the world. "It's a good opportunity for me to be playing over here, and that's the reason I chose to come out, to try to better myself, learn more about the game and hopefully make myself a better player for when I go back to England one day."
Following both teams elimination from the Tetley's Challenge Cup last weekend, Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield have agreed to re-arrange the date for their postponed Round Eight Super League clash at the Rapid Solicitor's Stadium which will now be played on Friday 26th July, kick off 8pm.
Rugby League fans will have the opportunity to put questions about the ongoing Policy Review and planned competition restructuring directly to RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood and RFL Chief Operating Officer Ralph Rimmer in a ground-breaking online question and answer session on Friday (May 17).