ENGLAND CENTRE Kallum Watkins says Leeds Rhinos will need a big improvement tomorrow to avoid Tetley’s Challenge Cup embarrassment.
Rhinos are at home to unbeaten Kingstone Press Championship leaders Leigh Centurions a week after their dismal 24-6 drubbing at Warrington Wolves.
“It wasn’t good enough,” Watkins admitted of last week’s setback. “The first half was pretty poor and that didn’t help us going into the second half.
“You can’t give teams that kind of lead.
“We’ve got to move on now and look at ourselves and show some character going into Friday’s game.
“Leigh are going really well at the moment. They are unbeaten so their confidence will be really high.
“No matter who you are playing, if their confidence is high they are going to be playing well. We are going to have to be prepared to the fullest and we will certainly be that.”
Last Friday was only Rhinos’ third defeat of the year, but Watkins insisted they haven’t spent the week feeling sorry for themselves.
“We started the season really well and got a lot of wins and it hasn’t been that way for the last couple of years,” he said.
“We have maybe dropped off a little bit, but it doesn’t take us long to get over things like that. We have got a lot of experience in our team, a lot of leaders and a lot of speakers.
“What we have got to do is work hard, show some more commitment on the field and hopefully we can come up with the goods this week.”
Recent slow starts have been costly for Rhinos, who have struggled to cope when teams take an aggressive, fast approach from the first whistle.
“We wanted to match that against Warrington and keep it close and we thought we could have snatched it, but we didn’t start well,” Watkins conceded.
“They grew in confidence and scored some nice tries in the first half. We have to start better.
“We have got to match teams that come firing out of the blocks.
“Teams are going to be after us and teams are coming to come out firing and make it tough in the first 20-25 minutes.
“We have to show the right attitude, be committed with the ball and do what we’ve been practicing all week.
“We didn’t do that (last Friday) and that’s certainly disappointing in terms of the whole team, but we can move on from that.”