As Castleford Tigers bemoan the loss of their talisman scrum-half, Leeds Rhinos’ own No 7 is at the top of his game as the sides prepare to round off the opening day’s action at Magic Weekend.
No player has created more tries in Super League this year than Richie Myler, the former England international who already has 19 assists to his name following an off-season switch from Catalans Dragons.
So often it takes time for a half-back to bed into a new team but – even with the defending champions struggling for consistency – he has been an instant hit at Emerald Headingley.
“I am enjoying it,” said Myler, who turns 28 on Monday looking like he is entering his prime.
“The boys have been very, very welcoming and I think I’ve fitted into a system that was perfect for my game, really.
“Why I joined, I knew it was a platform here for me to show what I’m all about.
“I’ve found that I’ve shown that so far but, obviously, we’d like a few more results to be getting us higher up that table.
“I am enjoying the way this team is playing, though.”
The pressure could have been unbearable giving Myler came in to replace a living legend in the shape of Rhinos captain Danny McGuire.
But he maintained: “I’ve been fortunate to be around a team that knows what it’s all about and how it plays.
“It was just me coming in and fitting in really, adapting to them and giving them what we needed as a team really. That’s my main goal and so far, so good.”
In a re-match of last season’s Grand Final, Castleford, of course, are without playmaker-in-chief Luke Gale, the ‘Man of Steel,’ who is sidelined for three months due to a knee injury.
“It’s a bit of an unknown quantity what they’ll be like without him,” said Myler, Tigers having been knocked out of the Challenge Cup by St Helens last week.
“But Gale has been such a big indicator for them for so long and he’s been such a great player for them so they will miss him.
It was just me coming in and fitting in really, adapting to them and giving them what we needed as a team really. That’s my main goal and so far, so good.Richie Myler
“I do think, though, they have a lot of talent across the board to live with that and they can really, really trouble us.
“Let’s not forget, the Cas fans, the Cas team and the Leeds team and fans … everyone seems to raise their game for this. It’s a derby and it gets really spicy. I can’t wait to play in it again.”
Leeds sit sixth in the table, just behind tonight’s opponents, who beat them 25-24 when they last met in an enthralling contest at Elland Road in March. Myler recalled: “I just remember not touching the ball for the first 20 minutes or so.
“They started off like a house on fire and our star was well off.
“They capitalised on it and were 24-0 up at one point. We know we’ll have to start well this time around and really build on what we’ve done so far this year.
“We’ve not been too far off. Obviously, we’ve lost a couple of games by a point and been scratchy at times but we’re looking forward to really nailing a performance.”
Myler, meanwhile, will play at Magic Weekend for a fourth different team tonight.
“I’ve loved the Magic experience and been fortunate to play in quite a few now,” he explained, having featured with Salford Red Devils, Warrington and Catalans.
“It’s a great spectacle. I just love how the fans all interact with each other and treat such a great atmosphere and environment to play rugby in.
“Obviously there’s been some big moments in some of the games over the years and that’s added to it, too.
“I think everyone seems to raise their game a little bit when it comes to ‘Magic’ so I am looking forward to being back in Newcastle on Saturday.”
Myler helped Leeds set up a Challenge Cup quarter-final against Leigh Centurions with a victory over his other former club Widnes Vikings last week.
“I first started at Widnes when I was 11 so it was good to go back and get a win,” he said.
“Again we were a little bit scratchy at certain points but at others we were electrifying.
“We just need to make a few more of those electrifying moments to really nail the game and deliver a good performance which is what we’re after against Cas.”