FIVE-TIME GRAND Final winner Ryan Hall has summarised Leeds Rhinos’ current form in three words: Not good enough.
Hall, who scored the try which clinched the league leaders’ shield last season, is ever-present so far this term and admits Rhinos have dropped well below their accepted standards.
The 2015 treble winners have lost four of their opening five First Utility Super League fixtures, scoring just 76 points in the process and conceding 144.
Their latest defeat was a 28-6 drubbing at Wigan Warriors – who they beat in last October’s Grand Final – when only an 80th minute try by Zak Hardaker saved them from their first whitewash since 1998.
Rhinos are already eight points behind the leading teams and coach Brian McDermott has acknowledged they are in danger of leaving themselves too much to do in the race for places in the all-important top-four.
There are still 18 games to go before the competition splits into Super-8s and Qualifiers.
But Hall said Leeds Rhinos need to take a good look at themselves – and come up with a solution to their current plight.
“We will go over it as a team,” Hall said of the five tries to one defeat at DW Stadium.
“We have got some serious reviewing to do as a team, because that’s not good enough.
“We’ve said that five times now this year.
“Four times in the league and in the World Club Challenge we’ve said the same thing.
“It is not good enough and we need to start taking account for these losses like professionals.”
The England winger felt Rhinos were “taught a lesson” by Wigan, who have a 100 per cent winning record, despite not finding their best form.
“You learn from your failures,” Hall added.
“You only learn from getting stuff wrong. That’s the old saying and we have adapted that in recent years and said you learn on the go and when you are doing stuff well.
“[On Friday] we learned a lesson the old fashioned way.
“Wigan showed us a couple of things they did right and it was a good old lesson for us.”
Wigan split Rhinos open several times as they returned kicks from deep in their own territory and England winger Hall conceded that that was an alarming sign.
“That typified our game,” he said.
“It happened more than twice and when they do it once that’s too many times.
“I think they broke us four times on kick returns alone and that’s major alarm bells for us.
“It teaches us two things – what not to do on kick-chase and what actually to do when we get the ball.”
Leeds are back in action on Friday when they face St Helens at Headingley. They travel to Castleford Tigers six days later.
“It doesn’t get any easier but we’ve been crying out for years for the competition to be like this,” Hall said.
“Now, just because it is going against us at the moment, I don’t think we should be complaining.
“We want it to be healthy. People are writing us off for the top-four already, but we’ve proved in the past many times that we work better when that happens. But we know we have got a lot of hard work to do in the meantime.”
Rhinos are beginning to get players back from injury, with Beau Falloon and Jamie Jones-Buchanan both making their first appearance of the season against Wigan.
But asked if they are suffering mental fatigue from last year’s exploits, Hall insisted: “That only gets mentioned when something goes wrong or we’ve lost. This is a different year and I don’t think that’s an issue.”