Kylie Leuluai believes ex-teammate Jamie Peacock’s shock return to action was designed for the former England captain to prove a point.
Peacock, who turns 39 later this year, last week stunned the sport by announcing he was coming out of retirement.
The former Leeds Rhinos star called time on his career following last season’s Grand Final triumph and took up the position of Head of Rugby at the Lightstream Stadium.
On Sunday, he was back out on the field as the Rovers defeated London Broncos 58-18 in a must-win Super 8s encounter.
Leuluai, who spent eight illustrious years alongside Peacock at Headingley, admits he was surprised by his former colleague’s decision to put the boots back on.
“It was a bit of a shock to be honest,” Leuluai said.
“I think it is a sign of Jamie wanting to show his commitment to the cause but it is fair to say they are desperate for some experience.
“He might well be trying to prove a point to some of the players there.
“I watched Hull KR’s game against Leigh and they were way off the mark, so I hope he can go in there and make a difference.”
The stakes are high, with the Robins’ Super League future still in doubt.
But Leuluai is adamant Peacock is not feeling the pinch.
“I don’t believe it is a sign of Jamie being under pressure in his role,” said Leuluai.
“Even though he hasn’t played for almost a year, he keeps himself in decent shape and I am sure he will slot back in.
“I am pretty sure he can still do it. As a front-rower, it is not like being a pivot, you just need to lead from the front, run hard and tackle hard.
“It is like anything, if you have been out for a long period with an injury, you can come back and after two or three weeks be back to your best.”
Leuluai was speaking to Rugby League World for an extensive interview in the upcoming edition. Don’t forget to pick up your copy when it hits stores on September 23rd.