Yusuf Aydin talks road to recovery, ‘funny’ Leeds stint and unbelievable Peters
Yusuf Aydin is closing in on his full recovery from injury, but the 22-year-old forward knows it will be no easy feat earning a spot inside the starting XVII at Hull KR in 2023.
Aydin was one of seven new recruits at the club during the off-season, and made the move alongside James Batchelor from Wakefield.
The Turkey international joined the Robins on a two-year deal, but was forced to undergo surgery in January for a wrist ligament repair.
He has since been forced to watch the opening rounds of 2023 from the sidelines, seeing his side claim two wins from three, while he is edging closer to full fitness for the rest of the campaign.
“It’s going good. I’ve been out my cast over two weeks now,” Aydin told Love Rugby League.
“Hopefully I’m looking to be back fit in three or four weeks time from now. In the two weeks that I’ve already had my cast off, it’s come along really nicely.
“It was pretty painful in the beginning. I could just do the assault bike with one arm, then after about a month, six weeks, I could run with the cast on.
“Nothing crazy, but it was enough to keep me ticking over. Now that I’ve got the cast off, I’m able to do all the normal conditioning.
“For my weights and that, I was just doing modified exercises and single arm stuff. So one side of me is massive and the other has some catching up to do!
“But it’s going really well and I’ve got good support and network of staff around me at Hull KR which are helping me massively.
“It’s been frustrating watching, but I’ve done the hard stuff now and I can sort of see the good stuff around the corner.”
Fighting for a spot in the XVII
Aydin knows he will have to impress head coach Willie Peters to earn a spot inside his game day 17.
He has made 20 Super League appearances to date, but is up against the likes of new recruits Rhys Kennedy, Sauaso Sue and Sam Luckley for a place.
“It’s going to be no easy job,” he admitted.
“I’m very lucky to be a part of this squad and be able to learn off the senior players. I understand it’s going to take a lot for myself to get into the team and it’s just a challenge I’m looking forward to.
“I’m going on to look to earn some respect amongst the boys and hopefully get some game time this year.”
Yusuf Aydin on his Leeds stint
Despite struggling to find game time with Wakefield in 2022, Aydin found himself a man in demand and made the move to Rohan Smith’s Leeds on a short-term loan last July.
He made an impression on his Rhinos debut from the bench in their 42-12 home victory over Wigan, before being recalled by his then-parent club.
“It was a funny one and that came out of nowhere,” Aydin admitted.
“It was a good learning curve for myself. Wakefield weren’t doing too well and I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to go and play at Leeds who went on to do amazing stuff.”
Having found himself off-contract at the time at the end of the year, the short-term loan was thought to be a possible chance of earning a permanent contract at Headingley Stadium.
Smith added plenty of youngsters to his squad, including the likes of Leon Ruan and Toby Warren, and so the move would have made sense.
But Aydin admitted: “There was some mention of it (a move to Leeds), but I ended up picking Hull KR in the end. And to be honest, I’m really glad I did.”
Willie Peters’ influence
The youngster knew 2023 was going to be a special year for Hull KR after just a few weeks of pre-season under new boss Peters, who arrived on a three-year deal from the NRL.
The side opened their 2023 campaign with an impressive win over Wigan, and went on to beat Salford the following week before falling short at home to newly promoted Leigh.
Aydin says he spoke with Peters a few times on the phone before signing on the dotted line, and has since loved his time under the 44-year-old Australian coach.
“I’ve never had a coach like Willie,” Aydin continued. “He’s unbelievable really.
“The amount of detail and thought that goes into every bit of aspect that he does for the team, the staff and just to make sure everyone can benefit as much as they can and perform the best we can.
“It’s nothing I’ve ever been a part really and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”
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