TONIGHT’S CHALLENGE away to Leeds Rhinos is what elite level rugby league is all about, according to Hull prop Liam Watts.
The odds are stacked against Hull – who have won only once in their last five matches – but Watts insisted that will bring the best out of a team that desperately needs a victory to kick-start their season.
“It’s always a tough game over there,” said 23-year-old Watts, who had a spell with Castleford Tigers at the start of his career.
“There’s a reason why they’ve been champions so many times in recent years, but we’ll get back on board and put things right and put things into practice on the pitch.
“It is something to relish. Since I started playing rugby, when you are coming through as a kid, you want to play in these games against the world’s best.”
Hull are on a three-game losing run which saw them slip to 10th in the table following the Magic Weekend. Round 14 marks the start of the second half of the campaign and Watts admitted: “Every week’s crucial at this point of the season.
“You have to pick up points at every opportunity. We’re just not getting the bounce of ball at minute, but will keep chipping away. We showed character and desire against Rovers (Hull KR) last week and we have to take it into this game.”
The 38-24 defeat six days ago came after Hull had Jason Crookes sent-off for a high tackle early in the second half.
“It was the same old story,” Watts said. “We’ll take a lot out of that game with obviously our desire to try and win after going down to 12 men and then getting back to just two points before just falling away at the end again. We’ll take a lot of credit from that, give ourselves a pat on the back and try get ourselves up for Leeds.”
On a personal note, Watts is determined to cement himself in Hull’s 17 for the rest of the campaign. We’ve got a bit of a rotation policy going on at the minute and it was nice to get back out there and play some decent minutes,” he said of last week’s game.
“Dean Hadley got injured too so I had to fill in at right back-row at times, but you just play where you get told and try to give your best and I thought I tried my best. I had a couple of games at Doncaster (on dual-registration) in the last two weeks just to keep ticking over and wait for my chance in the derby and obviously it will happen to a couple of other lads over the coming weeks. Hopefully I don’t fall back into that bracket and I can try and keep my spot.
“The only way I can do that is by playing well week in week out. It’s tough for Radders (coach Lee Radford) to tell you you’re not playing each week, but you just have to cop it, take it on the chin and get on with it.”