SIX months into the job, Leeds Carnegie head coach Jimmy Lowes feels that he is getting to grips with the sport after his cross-code switch.
The Championship table certainly says so; the in-form West Yorkshire club could go top today if they win at Plymouth Albion.
However, the former Leeds Rhinos assistant, who enjoyed a decorated playing career in rugby league with Bradford Bulls and Great Britain, is more concerned about being in such a position at the end of the season as he continues his own development.
“I’m getting there,” said Lowes, who left his role with the Super League champions to take over at their sister club in June.
“I made no bones about it that it (union) is a hard game to grab hold of and a hard game to suss.
“I’m trying to do stuff slightly different, but the lads have been really good and that’s the thing about this; I’ve come into a club where they work extremely hard and they are open to trying things.
“Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t but it’s pleasing they have an openness to try which is the pleasing aspect and that’s helped me settle in.
“We’re getting there. It’s a challenge but I’m certainly enjoying it.”
A sixth straight victory this afternoon today could see Leeds oust Bristol from top spot, although London Welsh will take pole position if they prosper in Jersey.
Leeds, who have new Worcester Warriors loan signings Jon Clarke and Harry Casson on the bench, are well-placed to eventually emerge from a congested top five.
Lowes admitted: “It is very tight.
“Teams are going to go on a bit of a roller-coaster. We’ll get through that. London Welsh will, Bristol will, too, everyone will be up and down.
“If we get ourselves in a position at the end of the season to get ourselves in that top four that’s more important than anything.
“It’ll be up and down all season but once we get towards those play-offs – probably the last four games – that’s when you have to really start nailing your performances. And I think that’s where probably Bristol will come into their own with the squad they have got. It’s at that crunch time you have to do the business.”
Struggling Plymouth have lost their last four games but, already this season, the Championship has proven countless times that it is no place for complacency.
“We know it’s a tough game down there and Leeds, the last couple of times, have been beaten at Plymouth,” added Lowes.
“But we’ll focus and be ready. We keep putting ourselves in there. It’s nice for the guys to see themselves in that top four but really as long as we’re there come the season’s end that’s the most important thing.”