YOU could forgive Leeds Rhinos’ Richie Myler for wanting to down tools and head off into one of those rural escapes his wife so often frequents on Countryfile.
Given the club’s current dismal form, the England scrum-half – who is married to television presenter Helen Skelton – may possibly at times feel the urge to get away from it all.
Far from it. Rhinos may have lost six of their opening seven games, but determined Myler is intent on facing their challenges head on and helping plot a rise from the bottom of the Super League table.
There is no time like the present to do it. He will be desperate to help manufacture a victory of any kind at his former club Catalans Dragons this evening and not just because it marks his 300th career game.
But how do Leeds – whose latest defeat was a shocking late loss at home to newly-promoted London Broncos last week – arrest that alarming slump?
“You work hard in training,” said Myler.
“That’s what we’ve been doing; you just keep working on the fundamentals of your game.
“We’ve just got to keep building on it and transform that into a game.
“We keep working as hard as we can; hard work solves a lot of things and I think that’s what we’ve got to do.
“I hate losing. We have got to put that right and I’m sure we’ll all be happier when we start winning.
We’ll all be happier when we start winning. It’s tough for all of us, across the board, I don’t think anyone can say they have put their best performances in all year, me included.Richie Myler
“It’s tough for all of us across the board. I don’t think anyone can say they have put their best performances in all year, me included.
“As for the 300 games it just makes you feel old when you’ve played that many.
“It is nice it is at Catalans, against my old club, and I am looking forward to it.
“But we need to have a good performance and get a good win, my whole focus is on that.
“Obviously we’ve not been playing well the last couple of weeks and we need to put that right.
“That’s my entire focus at the minute.”
The pressure is on Dave Furner, the Australian head coach in his first year in charge at Emerald Headingley who has been backed with some major recruitment, including two marquee signings in NRL stars Trent Merrin and Konrad Hurrell.
Rhinos have only managed to shine sporadically, such as during the solitary win against Salford Red Devils, a brilliant half an hour against St Helens, a quickfire start at Hull FC and for a large part of that loss against London.
Myler, 28, said: “That shows we’ve got the talent there to do it.
“We’ve recruited well and brought some good players in, the talent is there – we just need to do the hard work and start producing in the games. It comes down to consistency and how we are at crucial points of the game.
“We need to nail those points and we won’t be too far off.
“We need to give ourselves more chance in a game rather than hurting ourselves all the time or throwing games away.
“That’s the frustrating part; we have shown in glimpses we can be a very talented side. We just need to play for 80 minutes and we need to produce.”
Myler made his professional debut for Widnes Vikings just a few months after his 17th birthday and made just one more appearance before joining Salford Red Devils, where he notched up another 53 matches.
He represented Warrington Wolves 145 times before moving to the south of France ahead of 2016 and playing 50 games for this evening’s opponents.
The rest of his milestone is made up with 10 Tests for England, one game for England Knights and 38 so far for Leeds.
Myler enjoyed his two-year stint in Perpignan and the change in lifestyle living in the south of France.
Indeed, the couple’s second son Louis was born there so they will always have a strong bond with the region. He knows first-hand what to expect from Catalans, who see Remi Casty play his 300th game for the club.
They fought back from behind to force a narrow 18-16 win at Hull KR on Sunday and will be especially keen to perform at the Stade Gilbert Brutus given their last performance there a fortnight ago was an embarrassing 46-0 defeat to Salford.
Leeds – who welcome back fit-again captain Kallum Watkins – travelled to France yesterday.
Myler added: “It is a tough place to go and the last time they played at home they got beat so they will be ready to produce a good performance in front of their own fans.
“It is going to be a tough challenge and they are a quality side. If the fans really get behind them they can be a real handful and tough to play against. We are under no illusions about how tough it is going to be.”
Catalans lost three key players to injury at KCOM Craven Park – Greg Bird, Sam Moa and Benjamin Jullien – while they are already without talent such as David Mead, Michael McIlorum and Jodie Broughton.
Still, the Challenge Cup holders have star signing Sam Tomkins, former England No 7 Matty Smith and also hope to include Sam Kasiano, the huge forward from Melbourne Storm who arrived earlier this week.
Myler said: “It is a big game for us, but Salford went there and did well and we can take motivation from that.”