St Helens star Tommy Makinson says clash v Leeds deserves to be battle at the top

TOMMY Makinson admits he is glad to have the chance to knock over the Super League leaders in Leeds.

To him, a club like the Rhinos should be there, not fighting relegation like they have in recent seasons.

Sunday’s 27-26 win over Huddersfield put Richard Agar’s side at the summit ahead of facing defending champions St Helens tomorrow.

And the England winger believes it gives the meeting of the giants the billing it deserves – but warned he and his side are even better after lockdown, even if it meant queuing outside B and Q.

Makinson said: “Leeds is a massive club in a big city, which is doing so well in other sports as well.

“And it’s good to see them there. For the last couple of years they hadn’t done the best but now they’re back to where they should be.

“They are full of quality and they’re top for a reason.”

Makinson and St Helens may have been by far Super League’s best side of 2019 but 2020 started shakily, on a personal and club level.

The showing in the 34-6 thrashing of Catalans certainly gave no impression of that and if anything lockdown came at a good time.

It is job done in terms of getting over the dislocated shoulder he suffered in last year’s Grand Final. Not having to get stuck into home schooling eldest daughter Isla also helped, thanks to wife Beth.

It also helped international players get over their Autumn exertions with Great Britain and boss Kristian Woolf’s ideas to sink in after replacing Justin Holbrook.

The 28-year-old added: “Lockdown was strange, like it was for anyone else. I was one of those people queuing outside B and Q for four hours!

“I placed a real big emphasis on trying to get a real rest but when you’re having to get schoolwork in for the little ones, though, it flew by.

“Beth, however, was unbelievable as we were able to get schoolwork boxed off early on. She deserves the credit, not me. I’ve not got the patience!

“Before lockdown, I was just coming back from my shoulder injury and rugby wasn’t really enjoyable as I was still in pain and Kristian had only had a month or so to work with the international lads.

“The time off, though, has done them a lot of good. As much as the lockdown was a negative, we can put a positive spin on it.”

During lockdown, Makinson went back to the future as James Graham returned to St Helens, nine years after the pair last played together.

And the only thing time has changed is the opportunity to tease him if a spell in Australia leaves its mark in what he says.

He added: “Jammer’s not changed at all, he’s always been the same. He’s a professional who loves coming to training, playing well and having a good time.

“But any Australian saying he comes out with, we make sure he definitely cops it.”

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