Leeds Rhinos: I’m still a little undecided about the Super-8s – McGuire

Kallum Watkins, Zak Hardaker and Danny McGuire.

Kallum Watkins, Zak Hardaker and Danny McGuire.

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AT THE start of the season if you’d said we would have the Challenge Cup in the bag and be top of the table with one Super-8s game left, we’d have snapped your hand off.

We have worked really hard to get where we are, starting from the beginning of pre-season back in November.

Losing to Catalans in the play-offs last year drove everybody on and we’ve been pretty good and consistent for most of the season.

We have had a bit of a setback the last few weeks, we have been a bit off-colour, but we still think we are a good team and we need to show that this week and in the next – hopefully – three games.

It’s still in our hands. If we win tonight we will be league leaders and wins in our next three games would make us champions.

It’s going to be tough tonight. Huddersfield are in good form on a long run of victories.

They have been quietly going about their business, they know how to win and get across the line and they have got a bit more experience of playing in big games now.

It hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for us, but we just need to get some form back. The last few weeks we’ve been doing the small things wrong, we’ve been dropping the ball and missing tackles. It’s not rocket science, if we can fix that up, we’ll be okay.

The RFL have got the end to the season they must have wanted, with the top four teams all having a chance of claiming the league leaders’ ‘hubcap’.

Being honest, I’m still a bit undecided about the eights system. There’s been some games that mean something at the back end of the year, but we’ve also had a few that have been a wash-out, with nothing to play for.

There have been good games, like ours against Cas last week and St Helens’ win over Wigan. They were intense matches, but there’ve been others that have been non-events, like Warrington against Catalans last week.

Overall though, I think the season has been pretty good and with the top-four going into the semi-finals we should have a good end to the year.

I’ve seen some people are saying everyone should start on zero points in the Super-8s.

That wouldn’t be a good idea. We have earned the right to be up at the top at this stage and we’ve got where we are through our performances all year, going right back to February and March.

Teams can hit form at different times of the year, but it’s about rewarding the sides who are most consistent from start to finish.

It’s a bit different in the middle-eights. Leigh dominated all year in the Championship, but they’ve missed out on promotion because they’ve not performed when it really matters.

The Super League teams have an advantage because of the salary cap, the amount of money they can spend and the quality of personnel in their squads, but Bradford have got themselves into a good position and they have a real chance of going up.

It was a good night at the awards presentation this week and I was made up to be runner-up for player of the year.

I think if you’d have asked 50 people in the room on Monday for their winners, they’d all have come up with a different top three.

Kallum (Watkins) has been very, very good this year. Some of the things he has done have been unbelievable and Stevie – who was third – has been very strong and consistent, so to be runner-up was really pleasing.

I am happy with how I have played and my role in the team this year and to have contributed to what we have achieved so far.

A lot of other players could also have been in the top three, like Cuthbo, Zak and JP. They’ve all had big years and it must have been a really tough decision for Mac and the coaches to make.

Ashton Golding. PIC: Tony Johnson

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