Defending champions set fair for top-four challenge

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LEEDS RHINOS are in a “good place” at the moment, Rob Burrow says.

The defending champions look set to seal fourth spot on the Super League table, which would be an improvement of one place on the past two years.

Injured payers are beginning to return and Burrow feels Rhinos showed good signs in their back-to-back wins over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.

“We want to finish as high as we can,” Burrow said. “A lot of other teams will have a big say in that and so will injuries. But we are in a really good place at the moment. It was good to go to Wakefield and get a win, because a lot of teams struggle there.

“We showed real character and that’s a good thing to take into the rest of the season.”

Last Friday’s 31-24 victory, sealed by Burrow’s last-gasp touchdown, put one of their darkest days of recent times behind them, according to the scrum-half.

Leeds were crushed 38-18 on the same ground last July and Burrow said: “It was a good two points. Wakey are a strong side anyway and they really do play their best against us.

“It was great to get the win over them the week before, but to go there and win is really tough.

“It was probably one of the darkest days of last season, going there and getting a hiding, so it was good to get the win.

“And it was good to do it in different circumstances – we were winning, then we were losing and we showed a lot of character to come back.

“We didn’t panic, so it was a big win for us, but we will take a lot more out of it than just the two points.”

A major bonus was the return of captain Kevin Sinfield (thumb) and prop Kylie Leuluai (knee) from long-term injury.

“That is a big thing,” Burrow said. “We managed to do well while they were out, but now we are getting some players back, so roll on the play-offs.”

Despite Sinfield’s return and the decision to drop No 9 Paul McShane, Burrow retained his place at scrum-half.

“We have got a lot of people who can play in a number of positions, which is always good,” he said.

“It’s a good thing to have in your game if you can play six, seven, nine, 13 or whatever.

“We have got a lot of players who can cover various positions and we’ll all try and do the best job we can, wherever we play.”

Leeds are back in action tomorrow night away to Super League’s bottom club London Broncos and the scrum-half feels the long trip could be just what they need at this stage of the season.

“It is a trip away,” he said. “We will go down on Wednesday and stay overnight.

“We don’t do it that much, so it’s always good to get away with the lads.

“It’s Thursday, but it’s not that short a turnaround – we sometimes play Sunday and then Friday and it’s not as bad as that, so we’re looking forward to it.”

Carl Ablett

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