Leeds Rhinos star Konrad Hurrell talks contracts, fightbacks and Jake Wardle

HAVING been through tough periods before with Leeds Rhinos, star centre Konrad Hurrell is confident that experience will help them emerge from their current rut and “back to where we’re supposed to be.”

Leeds Rhinos' Konrad Hurrell back in action against Hull KR last week. (ALLAN MCKENZIE/SWPIX)

They have not won since beating Wakefield Trinity on the opening day of the season, losing all four games since ahead of Sunday’s trip to Huddersfield Giants.

Clearly, there are mitigating factors for Richard Agar’s side who have had to deal with an extensive injury list which has blighted their squad.

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Hurrell, for instance, only returned to action in last week’s 26-6 loss at Hull KR but they are still expected to be missing ten first-teamers for this weekend’s Super League clash.

However, the Tonga international knows all about the character of the squad and their ability to overcome adversity.

In his first campaign after joining from Gold Coast Titans, Leeds were in dire straits in 2019 - leading to Dave Furner being sacked - but they recovered and rallied, the explosive Hurrell finishing with 14 tries.

“Coming in 2019, I wouldn’t say it was a new club - the leadership of the club was always there - but there was a lot of new players and new faces, adapting to a new environment," he recalled, when asked how that experience could help them now.

“Even Furnsy came in and, didn’t try to change stuff, but adapt things to how he was coaching.

Leeds Rhinos' Konrad Hurrell, right, with Brad Dwyer after winning the Challenge Cup last year. (Ed Sykes/SWpix.com)

“(For me), the plays here were different to the NRL and I think it was the start of a new time, with Jonesy (Jamie Jones-Buchanan) and Kev (Sinfield) all retired.

“I came into that rebuild and it was always going to be tough.

“We were good enough to stay up and then it was good to get the win last year in the Challenge Cup.

“But the toughness and not winning many games in 2018, too, I reckon it got the boys all together and a bit tighter.

“There were some new players to come into the team that helped and we already know what we’ve come through 2018 and 2019. It was tough.

“The boys now don’t want to go through that memory of losing games week in week out again.

“It’s a motivation for everyone to work hard and try to take the club to where it is supposed to be.

“I always knew it was the best club in the league in terms of winning Grand Finals and we’re trying to get the club back to that.

“We’ve been doing it tough with injuries this year but we’ve still got a good squad to have a crack and hopefully we’ll get a win this week.”

Ex-New Zealand Warriors star Hurrell, 29, is out of contract at the end of the season and looking to earn a new deal.

He said there has been no developments on it yet and added: “It’s been frustrating.

“I haven’t started the year how I wanted to and now I’m back on the field I’m trying to prove that hopefully can re-sign me.

“I’d love to stay and that’s what I’m trying to do here. I’m trying to work hard and play the best I can as there’s a lot of young guns coming through and they can easily just play over me.

“I need to prepare and play as best I can.”

Hurrell joked he “might go do the dishes for Gary (Hetherington) and Kev (Sinfield)” in a bid to get matters sorted although helping Leeds to a win on Sunday would be a more likely way of extending his stay at Emerald Headingley.

Giants have still yet to win in Super League so they have their own issues.

But Hurrell insisted: “We need to stop worrying about Huddersfield.

“We respect them but we need to worry about ourselves more.

“We’re still not full strength yet but we need to bring our A game as they’ll be doing the same, too, as they need to get a win as well.”

Harry Newman, Alex Sutcliffe and Jack Broadbent are some of the young centres Hurrell refers to when it comes to pushing for his spot and there could be a highly-talented centre back in the Giants ranks on Sunday - Jake Wardle.

Wardle trained with England recently and Hurrell said: “He’s right up there.

“He reminds me of young Harry Newman. As soon as you see him touch the ball you need to be at your best as he can beat one one one.

“He has a good fend. He doesn’t look strong but he is pretty strong and has good footwork, too.

“He can do things only a few players can do. When Harry Newman was playing, they always had a good match up.

“Whoever’s playing centre, if it’s him, I need to be on my game to mark him.”

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