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11th January 2018, 16:00 | englandrl
JOE Greenwood doesn’t need warming up for his second season in the NRL – it’s already roasting on Australia’s Gold Coast.
The 24-year-old former St Helens star spoke to rugby-league.com about rumours linking him with Hull KR, the disappointment of missing England’s World Cup campaign and the head knocks that dogged his debut year with the Titans.
Rugby-league.com: The weather there looks brutal. How’s the pre-season treating you?
Joe Greenwood: “It’s been really hot – a massive change from the pre-season back in England. I think I’m slowly getting used to it … yeah, it’s been enjoyable.”
RLC: You’ve got a new coach in Garth Brennan. What’s the biggest difference between him and the previous coach, Neil Henry?
JG: “There’s not much difference – he’s just big on his defence so we’re going to change that up. We’re going to try and push for the best defensive team in the comp, which we try for every year, but he’s drilling it into us a lot. There’s a lot of stuff with effort on effort which will be good in the games.”
RLC: There’ve been stories about you perhaps playing alongside your brother James at Hull KR. Was that a serious consideration?
JG: “Yeah, there’s been a lot of rumours going around but my intention is just to play for the Titans. That’s where I’m at at the moment. It’s always a good option, to play with my brother, but I’ve got the opportunity out here and this is what I want to do.”
RLC: You say “rumours” but what actually happened? Was there a formal approach from Hull KR?
JG: “No. There was just rumours on social media. With me going back over to see family over Christmas, it’s been more rumours that I’ve come over to finalise deals and such – ha. I just went over to see family.
“I’ve got this year and next year (at Gold Coast). It’s like, one and a half years left.
“I’m keen to see it out. It all depends but I’m happy where I am. We’ll see what happens.”
Greenwood made the switch from St Helens to Gold Coast in 2017
The forward scored four tries in 22 appearances during his debut NRL season
RLC: The World Cup; I know you were hopeful of getting into the England squad. What was it like to watch that?
JG: “It was frustrating. I went up to Brisbane to watch (the final). The boys did well; it was just unfortunate we couldn’t finish it off and get over the line and win that World Cup. We’ll push for it in the next four years and hopefully we can lift the trophy then.”
RLC: Did you get an indication from Wayne Bennett as to why you missed out or what you’ve got to do to get into the side?
JG: “He said he was just going with more experienced players. He said ‘just keep up what you’re doing’. I’ll just keep my head down, keep working hard and have a good season this year.
RLC: Are there certain things you want to improve on this year? Are there specific areas of your game you’ve been working on?
JG: “There’s always room for improvement, like getting more ball in the hand. The way we’re going to play this year, that’s the way it’s hopefully going to happen – hopefully get the ball in hand more and just enjoy it out there and look forward to winning games.
“When I arrived in February I was around 102 kg and now I’m 110 kg so I’m trying to carry that, trying to put that into pre-season. It’s a big body change, a big, big task. I’m enjoying the extra weight and hopefully that will stand out in the games.”
RLC: How did you do that? What was involved?
JG: “Well, we sat down with a nutritionist and obviously tried to eat the right foods, train right, take on the right fluids at the right time, have the protein shakes. We looked into the detail of how to put the correct weight on instead of it just being wasted weight. So this year, I’ve put quite a lot of kilos on. Hopefully that will stand out, it will be a new challenge for me, putting on this weight.”
RLC: You copped a few head knocks last year. Were you surprised how much concern everyone showed?
JG: “No because we looked back at them. I had three. It was three in the space of a short time. I wasn’t really worried. It was just a freak accident with our own players. It’s just one of them, it comes with the sport. It’s a contact sport. Not worried at all.”
RLC: Is there anything to learn from the incidents?
JG: “No. They had a specialist on board and I sat down with him and he looked at the analysis and said ‘yeah, it’s just a freak accident, you just clashed with your own players’. Basically, he said ‘stop using your head!’”
RLC: Advice we can all heed. What are you looking forward to most about the Betfred Super League season? Got any tips for us on a surprise or two?
JG: “I’ll be recording most games, like I did last year, and keeping up to date with everything. With Hull KR and my brother being in Super League, I’ll keep an eye on him. It's not far off, I think the first game is the second of February. It’s something to watch for me because I’m a rugby league fan as well as a player.
“This might sound but biased but I’ve got an inkling that Hull KR might get into the top eight with the roster they’ve got, with who they’ve bought. The coach is Tim Sheens, a top class coach, so I think I’d watch out for them. They could be underdogs.”