IN-CRISIS LEEDS Rhinos have to concentrate on getting performances right, rather than worrying about the table, forward Adam Cuthbertson says.
Rhinos are bottom of First Utility Super League, six points outside the top-eight with 14 games played.
Thursday’s record 52-12 home loss to Castleford Tigers left them facing an almost certain relegation battle in the Qualifiers, alongside the other bottom four teams and the leading quartet from the Kingstone Press Championship. Catalans Dragons scraped into eighth place last year on 20 points and a similar target would require Leeds to win seven of their last nine matches in the regular season.
“Mathematically we probably still can do it, but that’s something we can’t look at,” Cuthbertson said.
“We have just got to have a look at each other, step up and really work on our own game. You can’t look too far into the future, that’s where you can go wrong. Sometimes you can slip up thinking about where we could finish.
“We have just got to worry about week to week now.”
Cuthbertson admitted Rhinos – who face top-four teams Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves and Catalans in their next three matches – are in a “tough” situation, but insisted hard work and belief in each other are the ways out of it.
“Throughout my career I haven’t had too many moments like this, but I have been there before,” said the former Manly, Cronulla, St George and Newcastle prop, who was a Man of Steel nominee last year.
“You have just got to pick yourself up, keep believing in each other and not give in.”
Asked how Leeds can turn things around, he added: “It is just hard work.
“It is hard to find morale at a time like this, because of the circumstances.
“But it is just turning up at training and wanting to be in each other’s presence and company and just really enjoying it and doing the tough work out on the training field.”
The Aussie insisted effort is not lacking, but Rhinos could be trying too hard.
“We turned up, we started the game well, but we let ourselves down in the simple areas, the fundamentals of the game,” he said of Thursday’s capitulation.
“The scoreboard speaks for itself.
“We are a very young team, apart from the likes of myself, Danny [McGuire], Rob [Burrow] and Jonesy [Jamie Jones-Buchanan].
“Sometimes that can be a problem, over-trying. Instead of being patient and taking control of the game you can over-play a bit too much and lose control of the game that way.
“It is there, I would rather be in that circumstance, because at least the boys are having a decent crack.
“That might be me taking the positive out of it all, but I believe and I know the rest of the boys and the coaching staff all believe.
“It is just a matter of clicking as a 17.”
The rout two days ago was Castleford’s fourth successive win over Leeds and their third in as many visits to Headingley.
They climbed from eighth to sixth in the table and Cuthbertson said: “Cas played great, they were really good.
“They shifted the ball well on us.
“They scored some good tries and I wouldn’t take anything off them.
“I wouldn’t say we played overly bad and that’s why they won, they played good footy.”