FORTRESS HEADINGLEY is Leeds Rhinos’ aim this year, Ryan Hall says.
Rhinos lost seven times on their own turf last season and Hall insisted they are focused on doing much better in 2017, beginning with Friday’s visit of Salford Red Devils.
“We like playing at Headingley,” Hall said.
“A couple of years ago it was regarded as a fortress and I think teams kind of feared coming here.
“But, especially after last year, I think they might be looking at it differently.
“We’d like to make it a fortress again and that starts this week.”
Rhinos are off the mark in Betfred Super League following their 17-14 result at Leigh Centurions five days ago, but Hall admitted they will have to be better on Friday night.
“Rugby league basics come down to the physical things, how hard you carry the ball and how hard you tackle,” said the England winger.
“But on the back of that you can’t drop the ball constantly and expect to win.
“We invited Leigh to attack our try line again and again in the final 15 minutes.
“We were lucky we’ve got a tight goalline D [defence] system going on, because they tested us and we gifted them it.
“It was completely stupid on our part.”
Rhinos trailed 8-0 after as many minutes and Hall said their poor opening was another lesson to learn ahead of the game in two days’ time.
“They didn’t surprise us, that was our focus coming into the game,” Hall said of Leigh’s quick start. We said we know they are going to start big, it’s their first home game in Super League and they’ve made a song and dance about it, but I think we forgot what we’d been talking about for the first eight minutes.
“They scored two tries and again it was a lapse in concentration because we were prepared for the start, we just didn’t execute it.”
Adam Cuthbertson’s introduction off the bench got Leeds back into the game.
And Hall reckons the Aussie’s early-season form has given Rhinos a major lift.
“He has got that in his game,” he said. “We found that in 2015, he gives us an extra dimension and he certainly did that.
“With his first carry he created more havoc than we had done in the first 15 minutes.
“Last year he probably wasn’t at his best, but the early signs in 2017 are good for Cuthbo and Leeds Rhinos if he keeps on in this form.”
On a personal note, Hall scored his first try of the season last week, but admitted he was disappointed with a later error and wants to make up for that on Friday.
“I also bombed one, when I passed inside to Rob [Burrow, who knocked-on],” he said. “That will probably stick with me more than the try.
“It is nice to score the try, but I should have nailed that pass – it was sloppy.”
Hall also handed on the credit for a tackle which kept Atelea Vea out when Leeds led by three points inside the final five minutes.
“I’d credit Jimmy [Keinhorst] with that,” he said.
“I did my job by cutting the pass off so he had to run.
“I bought Jimmy time to get there and luckily he did what he had to.”