AUSTRALIAN forward duo Keith Galloway and Adam Cuthbertson believe Leeds Rhinos’ comeback victory at Catalans Dragons over the weekend was a credit to the character in their team.
Rhinos trailed 16-6 in the first half and were 10 points adrift midway through the final quarter before three rapid-fire tries snatched a priceless 30-24 success.
It was a return to winning ways after the shock 31-12 home loss to lowly Huddersfield Giants in their previous match and came without key players Ryan Hall, Kallum Watkins and Mitch Garbutt.
Galloway described the win in the south of France as a “good morale booster, especially after the week before”.
It was the fourth time this year Rhinos have bounced back from a defeat with victory in their next match and the former Kangaroos Test front-rower said: “We were pretty disappointed with the way we played against Huddersfield.
“To go over there to France and get a win is really pleasing.
“We didn’t have a pretty first half at all, but in the second we dug deep and came away with the win.
“Good teams find a way of winning. It wasn’t a complete performance, but we got the two points so that’s a good effort.
“It was tough out there, it was hotter than we are used to and some of the boys dug really deep.
“Some of the boys played massive minutes and to go there and get the win is probably character-building for us.”
The talk in that last 15 was the best it’s been all year. It is really positive, it was a great way to win a game and to set us up for the rest of the year.Leeds Rhinos’ Adam Cuthbertson
Rhinos remain fourth in Betfred Super League, two points adrift of Castleford Tigers, one behind Hull and trailing Salford Red Devils on points difference.
But they are now three clear of fifth-placed Wigan Warriors, and with games against Castleford and resurgent Warrington Wolves to come next, Galloway said that is important.
“Each week is a tough game, but I suppose we have got some really tough games coming up,” he said.
“We’ve got Barrow coming up on Sunday in the Challenge Cup and we have to prepare well for that and then it’s the Magic Weekend and then two games in four days the week after.
“It will challenge us, but if we are good enough we will get those wins.
“It is just a matter of trying to get as far up the table as we can.
“We’ve had a couple of blow-out losses, but overall we’ve been competitive in most games.”
Barrow are second in Kingstone Press League One, but are the only team in the professional structure with a 100 per cent winning record this season.
“We will give them the respect they deserve,” Galloway insisted. “They are going pretty well in their division and it will be massive for them to come and play a Super League team at Headingley.
“I am sure they will be up for it.”
Cuthbertson scored the try which got Rhinos back into the game against Catalans and insisted they always believed they could win, even at 22-12 behind with 15 minutes to go.
“We didn’t count ourselves out of it even when we got behind,” he said.
“We started off sluggish, but our character came through in the last 15 or 20 minutes.
“The talk in that last 15 was the best it’s been all year. It is really positive, it was a great way to win a game and to set us up for the rest of the year.”
Cuthbertson reckons it takes a special effort to win at Catalans. He added: “Every time I’ve been there it has been tough.
“They love playing in front of their home crowd and when they got a bit of momentum it was tough to stop them, but we just hung in there and did our best to swing it.”
Of his try, from around 30 metres out, Cuthbertson recalled: “It is a big blur to me – I just thought ‘go for it’.
“It was a big point in the game. We play little games in training where we just keep pushing up with each other in the line – it doesn’t matter about structure, just push into space.
“That is sort of why that try came about, just the boys tossing the ball around a bit and someone breaking the line.”
Rhinos conceded four tries in the first 52 minutes, but kept their line intact after that.
Cuthbertson felt their second-half defence was as important to the win as Leeds’ clinical finishing in the final quarter.
“That was a massive part of it,” he said.
“We’ve let some soft tries in in the last couple of weeks and we let a couple of soft ones in in the first half, where they hadn’t had the ball near our line for a long time then they get one set and they score.
“It was a very encouraging sign to come out in the second half and defend as well as we did.”