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Leeds loves it

22/04/2009 4:00:00 AM
ANDREW Leeds doesn't play the ``my game is better than your game'' nonsense so beloved of zealots.

Go to a Parramatta rugby union game and you'll see Leeds running around as the Two Blues trainer-cum-physiotherapist.

Go to a West Tigers league game anywhere and you'll see him running around as trainer-cum-physio.

``Deep down I love rugby,'' Leeds said of his preference, but it's a question of degree.

He just loves his footy.

``Yes, people ask me where I find the time,'' said the former Wallaby and long-serving rugby league first-grader.

He finds the time because ``I love it''.

It's also his job; Leeds studied physiotherapy at university and had put theory into professional practice before he hung up the boots.

He's actually cut back in time with the Two Blues.

``I've got a young family and can't be as committed as I was,'' he said.

Still, he's taken on an extra responsibility: Leeds is part of the unpaid coaching triumvirate with Ian Hollins and his good mate Matthew Campton at the Two Blues.

``They're my old club. I had to get involved and put something back,'' he said of tough times and the Two Blues' reversion to amateurism.

Leeds knew the good times as fullback in Parramatta premiership teams.

He was so good, the then Parramatta coach Paul Dalton said that give him Leeds and Nick Farr-Jones, and he could coach a team to beat Alan Jones's Wallabies.

Leeds said he had known the best of times and had no regrets. Well, perhaps one.

``It would have been nice to be part of the Australian 1991 World Cup-winning team,'' he said.

Leeds had switched to the Parramatta Eels in 1989 but his timing was out. Those were the lean years. He had been arguably the world's best rugby fullback when he'd switched codes.

Still, no regrets.

``When I started playing league, everybody still had a job or studied,'' he said.

``It's still possible now (study) but it would be tough. League is a 9-5 job.

``When I finished, the game had become fully professional. I'm old-fashioned, when I played you could miss one or two tackles.

``Now you'd be under the pump. There's so much analysis and you're under such scrutiny.''

Has anyone else been involved in the codes simultaneously at the top level?

Such is his love, Leeds is quite happy to serve at the bottom, too.

He's played the odd lower-grade game when the Two Blues have been short, even in the forwards as flanker.

``I enjoyed that I like getting involved in the rough and tumble,'' he said.

``I'm getting a bit long in the tooth but might have to play a game or two this season if we're short.''

Something more to get his teeth into.

SCOREBOARD:

NRL: Bulldogs 48 Parramatta 18; Brisbane 38 Penrith 18.

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