ENGLAND CENTRE Kallum Watkins says Leeds Rhinos have to get their chins off the floor ahead of Saturday’s do-or-die play-offs tie at home to Catalan Dragons.
Rhinos ended their regular First Utility Super League campaign with a fifth straight defeat, 24-19 at Hull, three days ago.
Watkins admitted that was a hard result to take after Leeds had led 19-4 with less than a quarter of the game left, but he stressed they don’t have time to feel sorry for themselves with their season hanging by a thread.
“It is tough,” Watkins conceded. “In terms of the league, we haven’t been good enough in the past month or two and that has been a real let down for us.
“But we’ve got to focus on the play-offs now. We are going to have to do it tough, which has been the Leeds way in the last couple of years.
“We have to pick ourselves up and train well this week.
“We have got Catalan on Saturday so we’ve got to be physically ready and make sure we are good when we are out there. We’ve got to put it (Friday’s defeat) behind us and move on.”
Rhinos have won just twice in their last seven games – in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup semi-final and final – and Watkins added: “We need to bring that form into the play-offs.
“The Challenge Cup was really good for us. You only get one chance and you’ve got to be willing to perform and do the right things at the right times.
“We need to do that and do it for 80 minutes and hopefully we can come good and that will give us a bit more confidence going into games.”
Rhinos seemed to be cruising to victory at KC Stadium before their sudden collapse and Watkins admitted: “It was crazy. We were in control for a good 60 minutes and we should have killed the game off, but then a couple of mistakes let them back in it.
“There were a couple of line-breaks and things that didn’t go our way, but you’ve got to deal with those problems and we didn’t do that.
“They got a bit fortunate with tries, but that’s the way it is. You’ve got to battle on from that and try and combat their momentum.
“At times we didn’t do that and that probably cost us in the end, but in terms of commitment and attitude it’s still there.
“It’s one of those things – when you are under pressure and you need to stop momentum it is tough, but we are professional players at the end of the day and you have to deal with those situations to be good rugby players and a good team.
“We have got to move on now and focus on this week.”