THREE WEEKS on, the reality has sunk in for Leeds Rhinos’ injured winger Ryan Hall, but he is determined not to give in to “doom and gloom”.
Hall’s glittering Leeds career ended in agonising fashion 20 days ago when he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in a win over Toulouse Olympique at Headingley.
That came less than a month after he had confirmed he will leave his hometown club at the end of this season to join Australian NRL giants Sydney Roosters on a two-year contract.
The move to the toughest competition in the world is a huge challenge for a 30-year-old in itself, but spending his first weeks at a new club on the casualty list will make the transition even tougher.
However, Hall – who scored 233 tries in 330 games for Leeds – has made a conscious decision not to let the setback get him down, partly prompted by advice from his team-mate Jamie Jones-Buchanan.
The 37-year-old forward has had to cope with more injury troubles than most during his career and is a firm believer that the mental side of recovery is just as important as physical healing.
I have seen different people go through the same thing and it never works well with people who are doom and gloom. You have to be positive about it.Leeds Rhinos’ Ryan Hall
“I am fine with it,” said Hall, who will undergo knee reconstruction surgery next week.
“I have seen different people go through the same thing and it never works well with people who are doom and gloom.
“You have to be positive about it. Jamie Jones always says it is about your mindset; if your mind is good your body will take after it. If you take a good mental attitude into it you might recover faster.”
Hall’s positive approach has been boosted by support from his new club.
The injury to their star signing was a huge blow for Roosters, but Hall confirmed they are fully backing his recovery and plans for next season have not altered.
“Obviously I was quite worried about that before I did speak to them,” he admitted.
“But they did reassure me, which is great and probably why I am in such good spirits about it all.”
Hall is one of three Rhinos players whose season was ended early by a knee injury, along with captain and fellow England back Kallum Watkins and front-rower Mitch Garbutt.
The timing of Hall’s injury, his most severe since making his Leeds debut 11 years ago, could not have been much worse as he had been set on helping Rhinos secure Super League safety through the Qualifiers.
But he described his layoff as one of those things.
“It is the first really big injury I’ve had,” he said.
“In 2016 I broke my ankle and I was out for a large period of the season.
“But apart from that I was untouched and that’s typically how an ACL goes.
“I have been all right up until now and, hopefully, that’s how I’ll continue after this. But it is a weird one for me now, moving clubs, it is not the exit I wanted.
“This club has given some great exits to some great players, like Kev (Sinfield), JP (Jamie Peacock) and Kylie (Leuluai) – and Magsy (Danny McGuire) and Rob (Burrow) last year.
“Maybe it was a fairytale too far.”
Hall is hopeful of being available early next season.
The NRL kicks off around a month later than Super League, in March and of the timescale for his recovery, Hall said: “It is quite a range.
“I have been quoted six to nine months, but I have heard some people come back quicker than that.
It is completely down to the individual.
“Hopefully, I am a good healer and it is on the sooner side rather than the later.”
Luke Briscoe, signed from Featherstone Rovers earlier this season for his third spell at Leeds, will have another opportunity to stake a claim as Hall’s long-term replacement when Rhinos play host to Hull KR tomorrow.
Briscoe scored a spectacular long-range try in Leeds’ win at London Broncos two weeks ago and has retained his place in their initial squad.
Jack Walker and Matt Parcell are set to return from injury and Jordan Thompson is available following a two-game ban.