TOMORROW’S TRIP to winless Warrington Wolves is a “dangerous” fixture for Leeds Rhinos, veteran packman Jamie Jones-Buchanan reckons.
Rhinos are second in the Betfred Super League table and on a four-game winning run, while Warrington – last year’s league leaders – sit bottom with six defeats and a draw so far.
But Leeds have not won at Halliwell Jones Stadium since 2011 and Jones-Buchanan insists they will need to be at their best to end that dismal run.
“I think it’s a really dangerous game for us,” he said.
“They have still got the talent, ability, skills and players to do a great job and they’ve done big jobs on us in the past.
“They beat Brisbane at the start of the season, which was a big game for them. The run we’ve been on recently and the form we’ve hit and where we are in the league table makes it an opportunity for them to knock us off. Their coach Tony Smith would love nothing better than to do that against his old club. We’ve got to really concentrate and take Warrington as if they are still a top-of-the-league team.
“That’s what they are really because the potential is still there. In recent years we’ve not had much luck going over to Warrington so it’s all hands on deck this week and we’re looking for a good performance.”
Tomorrow’s game is the first of four in 15 days for Rhinos and Jones-Buchanan said they need to go into Easter on a high.
“There would be nothing more deflating than going over there this week and getting a loss,” he said.
“You’re backing that up into an Easter period when anything could happen, there’s a lot of fatigue coming in and you don’t know who’s going to be fit and healthy.
“We need to keep the momentum, but that said, you can also over-cook things and over-think things.
“I think what we need to do is continue what we are doing really well and keep building this synergy we seem to be getting between players.
“We need to keep working on things like our kick-chase, kicking game, our carries, falling on our front – all big parts of what’s made us get the results. That’s what we need to think about.”
Tomorrow will be Danny McGuire’s 400th game for Rhinos. Jones-Buchanan, who has played alongside him in six Grand Final wins, described Leeds’ captain as “phenomenal”.
He said: “I often talk about Kev Sinfield and Rob Burrow and Magsy and the nucleus who’ve been here for a long time and all those boys have inspired me over the years and been a big part of who I am.
“The character I am today is largely down to them. Danny McGuire is one of the most competitive people I have ever met.
“Whenever I play pool or have a bit of a social with the boys I always say Magsy’s the one I want to beat because he’s brilliant at everything.
“He is a magician and one day they will make statues of people like Kev and Rob and Magsy because of what they’ve imprinted on this club’s history and its heritage.”