Leeds Rhinos star Harry Newman on controversial try, shackling Wigan Warriors dangermen and World Cup hopes

After seeing a large portion of his season wiped out by injury and suspension, Harry Newman is not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Harry Newman wearing the man of the match medal after an eye-catching display against Wigan Warriors. (Picture: SWPix.com)
Harry Newman wearing the man of the match medal after an eye-catching display against Wigan Warriors. (Picture: SWPix.com)

The Leeds Rhinos centre returned to action against Wigan Warriors last Thursday and played a starring role in a stunning victory for Rohan Smith's side.

Newman marked his comeback with a second-half try, albeit a controversial one after squeezing past Ash Handley who had been tackled just short of the line.

Man in the middle Liam Moore and video referee James Child allowed the try to stand, but RFL head of match officials Steve Ganson has since admitted it was the wrong call.

The RFL later apologised for awarding Harry Newman's try. (Picture: SWPix.com)

When asked whether he was confident the try would be awarded, Newman told The Yorkshire Post: "I didn't really know.

"I just went for the line and it went upstairs as a try. A lot of these calls are 50/50 but if it goes upstairs as a try, it ends up being a try.

"It was nice to get over the line again and they all count. I know someone has come out and said something in the press about it but it is what it is.

"People will agree and people will disagree. The ref gave it at the end of the day and that's what counts.

Harry Newman touches down against Wakefield Trinity. (Picture: SWPix.com)

"I've been out injured and then got banned but something finally went my way.

"It was class being out there again. It was a great atmosphere and a huge win."

After missing the previous three matches for dissent, Newman let his rugby do the talking at Headingley.

The 22-year-old set the tone with a forceful early hit on Wigan dangerman Jai Field and displayed unbridled enthusiasm throughout the match.

Harry Newman during an England training session. (Picture: SWPix.com)

Newman was quick to shut down Field and Bevan French in an outstanding defensive performance to emphatically vindicate Smith's decision to move the youngster to the left edge.

"They obviously had a couple of key players and I thought if I could shut them down, it'd make a massive difference to the team," said Newman.

"Everyone prefers to pass that way (left) so it was a way of getting more ball. Obviously French was on that side which was part of it.

"I just wanted to do my best for the team and get back out there playing. It's only one game and now I've got to back it up and be consistent for the rest of the season."

It is little wonder Newman is refusing to get ahead of himself after featuring only three times in the opening 19 rounds, largely due to a troublesome hamstring issue.

Rhinos boss Smith, who ignores the table and quickly moves on to the next challenge, is helping to keep Newman and his team-mates grounded.

The win over Wigan is firmly behind Leeds as they focus on Saturday's date with Catalans Dragons in Perpignan.

"We're taking it one game at a time," said Newman.

"Rohan is really keen on that mentality. Obviously that was a good win but it's about this week now.

"It's not even about backing up the performance; this is a totally new game going away to Catalans. It's a big test and another top-four team.

"Rohan has been great for the team and me individually since he came in. He's just changed a few things up and it's working because we're scoring a lot of points.

"We've still got things we need to work on to be a consistent team and push on to get where we belong.

"But so far he's given a really good impression. He brings calmness to the squad.

"He's very much focused on each week and what we've got to do to beat the opposition that week; not really looking at the table but knowing if we get the win, it'll put us where we want to be."

While Smith continues to pay little attention to the bigger picture, Newman is aware of where the Rhinos are and what they need to do to finish in the top six.

"I'm sure every player has a look," added Newman.

"I know Cas are five points ahead of most teams but it's still up for grabs. Everyone has still got to play seven games and a lot can change.

"Hopefully as a team we can kick on and make the play-offs now. We've still got key players to come back.

"It's about building momentum going into the back end of the year. If we put out our best performances, I think we can challenge anyone on our day."

On a personal level, Newman's main objective is to enjoy a clear run to the end of the Super League campaign.

Beyond that, he is hoping to secure a place in Shaun Wane's England squad for the World Cup.

"It's been frustrating but all I can focus on now is the back end of the season," said Newman.

"I spoke to Shaun a few weeks ago and know what I need to do to be involved at the end of the year. We've got England meetings coming up and we'll just see what happens.

"Any English player's goal is to play for their country in a home World Cup. It would be something special and is obviously in the back of my mind - but to do that I need to play well for Leeds every week. If I do that, I'll give myself every chance."