LEEDS RHINOS have hit a bump in the road and they need a positive attitude to get over it, forward Mitch Achurch reckons.
Rhinos suffered their second defeat of the season when they went down 29-10 to Warrington Wolves last Friday.
They are back in action in two days’ time at another of their bogey clubs, Huddersfield Giants and Achurch insists their mental approach is the first thing they need to get right.
“I think we’ve had a bit of a confidence bump,” Achurch admitted.
“We were flying high and we didn’t feel like we were untouchable, but we felt we had the game plan to beat anyone.
“Warrington sort of knocked us off our perch a bit.
“The biggest thing now isn’t Huddersfield, it’s ourselves – it’s getting our mindset back on the right track.
“What we were doing before works, we’ve just got to keep at it.”
Achurch has identified a strong start as crucial for Leeds on Thursday night.
“St Helens, when they played us, their first 20 minutes let them down,” he said.
“Against Warrington we were a bit the same. I wouldn’t say we were bullied in the middle, but we probably weren’t as tough as we should have been against Warrington.
“They have a big pack and once they get a roll on they are tough to stop. This week’s going to be a big test, more for our mental state than for the opposition.”
Achurch will be looking to make his seventh successive appearance since returning from a two-game lay-off due to a knee problem.
“I’ve been back a few weeks now, so my body’s feeling pretty good,” he said.
“It’s just a matter of getting that match fitness back. I haven’t had too many minutes the last few games.
“I had a fair few last week, but the week before at St Helens I hurt my neck and only played 17 minutes.
“Now it’s just about getting some time and then it’ll all come together.”
Achurch was in outstanding form before his injury and he admitted: “I am trying to get back to where I was.
“My form then was coming from understanding what my role in the team is. I came back and we’ve had a few injuries - Kylie’s not there at the moment - so we are sort of plugging holes a little bit.
“But now I’ve been back in the team a few weeks I’m starting to get a roll on again.”
Achurch, normally a back-rower, has filled in as a prop at times this term.
“Either way, as long as I’m doing a job I don’t mind,” he said.
“I enjoy the edge more, but if I am needed in the middle I can do that as well. It’s just a different mindset.
“There’s an expression ‘victim of versatility’. If I play well in the middle that justifies picking me there - and it’s the same if I play well on the edge.
“You never want to play bad, but when I’m playing well I never mind where I’m playing. It’s when you start having a couple of rough games you starting thinking ‘I’m a better back-rower than a front-rower’ or vice-versa.
“But I am happy at the moment. Up until last week we’ve been winning, so that’s been good.”
Stevie Ward (ankle) and Kallum Watkins (concussion) are both in doubt for Thursday after being hurt against Warrington.