Leeds Rhinos: Achurch is adamant hard work will pay off

Mitch Achurch.
Mitch Achurch.
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NOBODY is working harder than Leeds Rhinos, forward Mitch Achurch says.

Last year’s treble winners are two points adrift at the bottom of First Utility Super League, but Achurch insisted their fortunes will change if they keep putting the effort in.

Rhinos were beaten 40-8 by Wigan Warriors last Saturday and have won only three of their 17 competitive fixtures this season.

Their five-match losing run, which includes a Ladbrokes Challenge Cup defeat by Huddersfield Giants, equals Leeds’ worst sequence of results in the summer era, a record set in 1996 and matched 10 years later, but Achurch insisted the players are sticking together and still believe they can turn things around.

“The chat in the changing rooms [after last Saturday’s game] was just ‘turn up on Monday and let’s go again’,” said the Aussie, who was a try scorer against Wigan.

“I am sure no team is working harder than us.

“They have just got combinations right that we don’t have right and they’ve maybe got a few less injuries.

“All that’s swings and roundabouts and hopefully it’s coming our way soon.”

Little has gone Rhinos’ way this year and Achurch admitted: “Some of the luck we’re not getting at the moment, we are sort of wishing that on other teams. Then if we keep plugging away, things will change for us.

“It is hard, but the only way we are getting through it is by ripping in for each other.

“When you do that, that’s the time you really get to understand how much it means to everyone.

“That’s when you prove to each other you still want to be better.

“We are still doing that at the moment.”

Rhinos will need a huge improvement when they visit second-placed Warrington Wolves tomorrow, but Achurch felt there were some encouraging signs against Wigan, despite the final scoreline.

It was only 12-4 at the break and he reflected: “Some of the things in the first half were a big change, we changed a few of our systems and they seemed to spark us a little bit in defence.

“If we keep doing that we can only get a bit better and hopefully some of our bad luck goes over to another side and we catch them.”

With only eight games remaining before the competition splits into Super-8s and Qualifiers, Leeds are six points behind eighth-placed Widnes Vikings and facing the prospect of playing below the elite level for the first time since 1902.

“Literally all we can do is look at the team in front of us and just try to be better than them every week,” Achurch said.

“If and when we end up in the middle-eights, whoever they put in front of us we just have to be better than them.

“And, hopefully, when it comes to that time we are used to ripping in for each other and hopefully it pays off.”

Achurch is set to leave Rhinos at the end of the season after being told his contract will not be renewed.

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