COPING WITH Easter is all about being clever, Leeds Rhinos forward Adam Cuthbertson says.
Rhinos visit Hull this afternoon for the first of three games in eight days. They play host to Widnes Vikings on Monday and Doncaster in a Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tie next Friday.
With two players suspended and several others injured, coach Brian McDermott has only limited options to rotate his squad, so Cuthbertson reckons Leeds have to adopt a smart approach.
“You have to be intelligent,” Cuthbertson said. “Over the Easter weekend you have to play football.
“If you go out and rely on bashing and barging, you start hurting on the Monday and in the game backing up after that.
“Obviously being physical is part of the game, but you have to have a sense of smartness as well.
“You have to play with the ball in your hands and as forwards we have got to get the backs as much room as we can to make some good decisions.”
Cuthbertson admitted Rhinos can’t afford to do as much defending as in last week’s defeat at Warrington Wolves.
“Warrington kicked the hell out of us,” Cuthbertson said.
“Statistically, we did a lot of tackling – a lot more than we normally would have to.
“It took a lot out of us. It was a field position thing and Warrington definitely got that right. That’s something we’ve
got to learn from. I thought [Declan] Patton was extremely good. Every time we thought we had it sorted, he’d drop a kick in with pin-point accuracy and get them right where he wanted them.
“That helped them massively. It is tough when you have got to turn around off the back of a good kick.
“[Hull’s] Marc Sneyd has got one of the best kicking games in the comp and if you don’t get field position right he will kick you to death.
“We have got to put a bit more pressure on their kickers and make sure we help out back-three out.
“I thought our back-three were pretty good last week, considering some of the balls they had to take and where they had to turn around from.”
Rhinos are third in Betfred Super League, one place above Hull and a win today would make backing up on Monday much less taxing.
“I don’t think I’ve got it right yet,” Cuthbertson said of coping with two games in four days.
“The first year was a bit of a shock to me. The big thing is trying to get wins over the weekend, that can make it easier. It feels a lot harder if you’re not winning at this time of the year.
“It is about getting the physical point right in terms of recovery over the two days you’ve got off between games and trying to get the win on the board.”
He added: “It’s funny how the Easter period really sees teams move out in front or get left behind.
“It’s a big one for everyone in the comp. For ourselves we have got to focus on keeping cruising up that ladder.
“If we can get two wins from this weekend it will be massive for us.”