Among a plethora of substantial disappointments for the Leeds Rhinos in 2016, there is the sporadic success that helps soften the blow felt after the latest in a string of defeats.
The first was the emergence of Jordan Lilley, and soon after that were the promising performances of Ashton Golding.
However, perhaps the most satisfactory aspect of Leeds’ turbulent year is the ascent of Jimmy Keinhorst, who has come out of the shadows to cement himself as one of Brian McDermott’s most trusted and reliable performers.
It was a year this week since the 25-year-old impressed in victory over Wakefield, subsequently earning selection in nearly every game for the rest of the 2015 season, culminating in an appearance in the Grand Final.
He has never looked back since. Despite the ongoing troubles facing the Rhinos, the centre has thrived in 2016, establishing himself as a key component in the Rhinos team.
Like many of his young peers, the year has been a difficult one, but the opportunity to become a household name has been a dream for the German international.
“This time last year I was playing with Hunslet,” Keinhorst told TotalRL. “Then I managed to get a spot in the first time and managed to more or less keep a spot until the Grand Final.
“That was a great experience for everyone involved, but this is obviously a different experience for us now. You’re always learning through the good times and the bad times, and I think this will be good for me and some of the other young lads.
“All the young players have been given an opportunity and rightly so. I think we’ve stood up and done well. None of us are happy with how the results are going, but this will be invaluable to the younger members of the squad in their careers. We all learn from it and will come out of it much better for it.”
Leeds’ next opportunity to overcome their run of defeats presents itself in the shape of Salford, who have been in decent form over recent weeks.
However, the Rhinos offered an improved performance last time out against the Catalans, and Keinhorst believes that display has given them a strong platform to build upon.
“We’re playing at Headingley again,” he said.
“The fans have been great, especially here. They’ve supported us week in, week out despite our poor form. They give us a real boost on matchday and hopefully we can repay them with a result and performance against Salford and build on what we did against Catalans.
“We needed to get some integrity back in our game and I think you could see we did that defensively. We showed up for each other and it gives us something to build on going into the game with Salford.”