FRONT-ROW recruit Keith Galloway is confident Leeds Rhinos will show a big improvement in their next pre-season game.
Galloway made his first appearance for Leeds on Boxing Day, when they were beaten 14-6 by Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at Headingley.
That came just a month into pre-season and with Rhinos having done only a limited amount of ball work in preparation.
Rhinos’ coaching staff are likely to field a mainly second-string side at Hunslet Hawks on Friday and away to Featherstone Rovers on January 31, but could give all their fit players a run against the USA in Jacksonville on January 17.
Leeds’s full-scale trial match is at home to Bradford Bulls on January 24 and Galloway reckons the training camp in Florida before that will send them into Carl Ablett’s testimonial game in good shape.
“I know most of the boys now, but obviously spending a week together will give me chance to get to know them a bit better,” said Galloway, who arrived in Leeds at the end of November, ahead of the annual trip to the United States.
“It is a good chance to get away and work on a few things.”
Rhinos had a week off after Boxing Day, but will return to training on Monday.
A crowd of almost 11,000 braved appalling conditions at last week’s festive fixture and the 30-year-old is still buzzing after his first experience of Headingley’s unique atmosphere. He said: “I could not believe it when we came out for the warm-up. The sound was amazing and that was just for a trial. The support is massive, you don’t get that sort of support back home.
“I knew Leeds were a big club, but coming over here I have realised how big they really are.
“It was just a friendly, but it was a big crowd and they were really loud. I can imagine what it will be like with a packed house.”
Galloway spent 13 years with Wests Tigers before opting to try a new challenge in Super League and insisted he has had no regrets.
“I am enjoying it,” he stated. “All the boys have made me feel really welcome.
“I love the city, it is a nice city to live in, so I am sure I am going to really enjoy it here.”
Boxing Day gave Galloway an insight into what to expect when Rhinos open the new First Utility Super League season at home to Warrington Wolves on February 4, but he admitted the biggest plus was an opportunity to taste English conditions.
The game was played on a heavy pitch in driving rain and Galloway reflected: “It was good to blow some cobwebs out.
“It was different conditions to what I am used to, so I was a bit rusty. I dropped some ball, handling was difficult in the wet and I’ll have to work on that, but I got some conditioning out of it.”
The former Australia front-row is prepared to adapt his syle of play to suit the English elements. “I have got to realise it’s wet conditions over here a lot of the time, so ball security is paramount.”