Lockdown frustrating as Leeds Rhinos’ James Donaldson strives to stay on track

EVEN LEEDS Rhinos’ James Donaldson has started to grow “frustrated” with the shutdown and subsequent lack of rugby league action.

FRUSTRATING: Leeds Rhinos’ James Donaldson admits the current situation is far from ideal but is able to catch up on his studies.Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

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The versatile forward is one of Super League’s most enthusiastic characters, a trait mirrored by his energetic on-field displays.

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But with the country in lockdown and everyone training in isolation as the Covid-19 pandemic continues, Donaldson conceded things have been becoming more difficult.

STAYING FOCUSSED: James Donaldson, left, and Leeds Rhinos' team-mate Richie Myler. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com-

“It is getting a bit frustrating now,” he said, when asked about how he is managing an individual practice programme at home.

“The first week was okay but coming into that second week you’re doing all the things you want to be doing but it’s tougher getting motivated.

“I’ve managed to get four good sessions in and I’m lucky in that I’ve got a gym in my garage at home.

“I’m out on the roads a bit for a run and doing some work on my own up at Drighlington rugby club on their track.

“It’s difficult but we’re all in the same position and we all just have to get on with things.”

The 28-year-old is used to training on his own having spent a number of months doing that while searching for a new club following his release from Hull KR at the end of the 2018 season.

The former Bradford Bulls player, of course, earned a trial at Rhinos and has not looked back, becoming an integral part of Richard Agar’s squad.

“It’s a bit different to that situation,” he recalled.

“This is more frustrating. But you just have to keep yourself on the right track and keep yourself ready for when we do return as we just don’t know when that will be.

“I reckon it will be a few more months before we do get out there.

“Ideally, we’d start back training in little groups in June and hopefully start the season again in July but obviously there’s no confirmation of any of that.

“No one truly knows. It could be a lot longer.

“If the season is extended, it won’t be a problem. There’s a few people in different positions who have booked weddings and things like that but this is our job so we’ll just do what we’re told.”

Donaldson is, though, catching up with his studies as he continues work on training to be a quantity surveyor.

He added: “That is the bonus for me. Exams have been cancelled for this first year. But we’ve a load more coursework to do now and I’m up to my eye-balls in that at the minute.”

Leeds were in impressive form when the season halted last month, winning four successive games after an opening day loss to Hull FC.

Donaldson added: “We’ll be in a better place than where we were when we stopped as we should have players back from injury to strengthen us.

“If we can carry on from where we left off, it could be a pretty good season for us.

“We were going well and players had started to gel and get to know each other and we should be pretty healthy when we do start up again.”

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