Versatile Brett Delaney has been inspired by Leeds Rhinos team-mates who are facing a third game in nine days when Castleford Tigers visit Headingley Carnegie on Sunday.
Ten Rhinos players backed up from England or England Knights duty two days earlier when the champions got back to winning ways with a 44-40 victory over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at Headingley on Monday night.
Despite the scrappy nature of that victory, Aussie Delaney feels the representative players deserve huge credit for backing up – and he said the rest of the squad are determined not to let them down tomorrow.
“Obviously we can take some positives out of Monday’s game and there were some negatives as well, but we will take the two points,” Delaney said.
“It was our catch-up game and we are back in the top-eight, so hopefully there’s some good things to come from here.
“The boys who backed up from England duty have done well. That’s tough to do and it shows how tough the boys are.
“It lifted me to see those boys backing up. For them to do what they did is great. They were obviously a bit more tired, so you try to get in there and help them out.
“Everyone has a job to do, but with them backing up you probably want to get stuck in even more, to help them out and share the workload around.
“It is like an Easter period for them at the moment. I know what that’s like, it is tough.
“Three games in a week gets you, but we will be right.”
Half-back Rangi Chase was a member of the England team which beat Exiles a week ago, but the rest of Tigers’ squad have been out of action since their win over Salford City Reds on June 10.
That was only Tigers’ fifth victory of the campaign and they are third from bottom in the Stobart Super League table, but Delaney is expecting a real battle tomorrow.
“They will be pumped up,” predicted Delaney, who was switched from the pack to the centres against Wakefield. “They have had a break so they will be coming out nice and fresh.
“It is a big game, they will see it as a good opportunity with us backing up. We haven’t had a break, but that’s no excuse. It doesn’t bother us, we have just got stuck into training this week.”
Of Tigers, Delaney said: “They have got the talent there to turn a game on its head.
“They have some quality players and we are aware of that. Rangi and Danny Orr are a big threat, so we will have to get a game plan to deal with them and do it well.”
Tomorrow’s derby is the middle of three consecutive games against teams in the bottom four in the table for Rhinos, with London Broncos to come a week today.
“Hopefully we can get some points from the next couple, kick on and finish the season well,” said Delaney. “We got the two points on Monday and we now hope to build on that.”
Rhinos will be without England skipper Jamie Peacock, who suffered a knee injury in Monday’s game. But Kallum Watkins has been named in the initial 19 for the first time since damaging a knee in the Magic Weekend victory over Bradford Bulls four weeks ago and Ian Kirke and Richard Moore are also in contention for a recall.
Forwards Steve Snitch – who hasn’t played since April 19 due to an ankle injury – and Paul Jackson return to Tigers’ initial 19-man squad and Lee Mitchell is hoping to make the 17 this week.
Kirk Dixon drops out due to a neck problem which has ended his season and Josh Griffin – brother of Leeds’ Darrell – remains sidelined by an Achilles injury. Referee Tim Roby will be in charge of a Leeds game for the first time.
Leeds Rhinos: from Hardaker, Jones-Bishop, Ablett, Delaney, Hall, Sinfield, McGuire, Leuluai, Burrow, Griffin, Jones-Buchanan, Clarkson, Bailey, Ward, Lunt, Hauraki, Moore, Kirke, Watkins.
Castleford Tigers: from Owen, Youngquest, Thompson, Ferres, Williams, Chase, McGoldrick, Walker, Milner, Huby, Mitchell, Millington, Jones, Orr, Emmitt, Holmes, Massey, Jackson, Snitch.
Referee: Tim Roby (Preston).
Kick-off: Sunday, 3pm.
Meanwhile, coach Brian McDermott has confirmed Wests Tigers full-back Tim Moltzen is on Rhinos’ list of possible targets to replace Brent Webb when he leaves the club at the end of the season.
But the Rhinos boss insisted: “There are plenty of names on that list of available players and there is just as much chance of him not signing for us as there is of him coming to Leeds.”
* The Olympic torch will be visiting Headingley Stadium around an hour after tomorrow’s game.
Fans will be invited on to the rugby pitch after the match to listen to music and watch Olympic highlights on the big screen, before moving to the cricket side to view the Torch relay.
The stadium and all the bars will stay open for supporters to watch England’s Euro 2012 quarter-final against Italy on the big screen in the evening.