PROUD CAS lad Rob Burrow is delighted to see his hometown club setting Betfred Super League alight, but reckons Leeds Rhinos are capable of dousing their fire tonight.
Burrow pin-pointed the trip to in-form Tigers as exactly the sort of challenge Rhinos are looking for after an encouraging start to the season.
Both teams are on a two-game winning run and tonight will be a huge test of Rhinos’ improved defence, but Burrow said it will show how far Leeds have progressed since the dark days of last season.
“I have always supported Leeds, but I am proud to come from Cas,” said Rhinos’ veteran half-back.
“It’s good to see them doing well – Cas is renown for rugby and it is good for the competition and the town as well for them to have a really strong team.
“They have always been competitive against Leeds and this year, more than any other, they could potentially be among the mix for trophies.”
Tigers have traditionally given Leeds a tough game at the Jungle, even when Rhinos were the top team in Super League.
The positions are reversed now with Cas on a four-game winning streak against their arch-rivals, including a 52-12 thrashing handed out at Headingley last May.
Burrow thinks it’s now time Leeds turned the tables.
He said: “Cas always play well against Leeds, regardless of past form. On form they are the best team in the comp’, arguably and it’s good – we are always prepared for a tough game against them and hopefully it will bring out the best of us. We have a habit of playing well in big games and there’s no bigger game for us now. We don’t have the Bradford derbies this year, but this is pretty much like that.
“It is two teams striving for success and it’s good that we’ve both got wins under our belt.”
Burrow admitted Rhinos “haven’t been great” this season, but he insisted there are positive signs.
He said: “It is early days. We are going to get better and better.
“Cas is our toughest game and we need to pick up from the first three weeks.
“We are looking forward to it, we are really going to get tested defensively. Cas are probably the best attacking team in the game, how much they throw at teams, but we are proud of our defence and this will be our biggest test so far.”
Rhinos have conceded only seven tries and 34 points in their opening three matches. But they have scored a similar number of touchdowns and just seven more points.
“Over the three games we have got better and better,” Burrow said of Rhinos’ attack.
“We need to take a big step this week.”
Tonight will see Tigers’ full-back Zak Hardaker go up against his former club for the first time and Burrow feels that adds spice to the mix.
“I’ve never played against him before,” Burrow said. “We all know what he can do.
“Dealing with him is hard enough, never mind all the other players they’ve got who can cause you trouble.”
Meanwhile, Rhinos under-19s will aim to extend their winning start to three games when they take on Huddersfield Giants at Stanningley tomorrow (7pm).