SUPER League leaders Leeds Rhinos will travel to Wigan Warriors tonight with a point to prove.
Rhinos’ final away game of the regular season comes six weeks after they were humbled 27-12 by Wigan at the Magic Weekend in Newcastle.
That was one of Rhinos’ most disappointing performances of the year and winger Ryan Hall said they are determined to show “the real Leeds” tonight.
Hall said: “We had a good result against Saints last week.
“Our team performance was as good as it has been all year, so we can draw on that and use that momentum going forward into Wigan.
“They are a tough side and when we played them up in Newcastle we didn’t show our best against them, so all we can ask from ourselves is to show our best this time.
“We didn’t perform last time and that was the most disappointing thing, because it was on a big stage.
“We like to pride ourselves on being able to rise to those occasions, but we really let ourselves down.
“We are in their backyard this time and we don’t have a great record there, but hopefully we can carry on from last week.”
A win tonight would open up a five-point gap at the top of the table.
Points in the regular season carry over into the Super-8s, so tonight is an opportunity for Rhinos to put more distance between themselves and one
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of their main rivals for a place in the Grand Final.
Wigan are four points behind Leeds and Hall added: “It’s the first time for this new format and there’s no hidden ways around it, you’ve just got to go as hard as you can, for as long as you can.
“We’ve done that this season already. We are doing all right in the league, but there’s still 10 games left before the semi-finals.
“We want to finish top [at the end of the regular season] and then keep going in the eights.
“There’s a lot of importance to finishing in the top-two this year, after the eights.
“There’s one semi’ and that’s at home, if you finish first or second.
“Even being in the top-four going into the eights is important, because you get four home games rather than three.
“With our record at Headingley, that would be good for us.
“We want to finish as high as we can and we are trying to finish first, as we always do.”
Wigan are coming off the back of a 17-6 defeat at Warrington Wolves a week ago.
Hall predicted a Wigan backlash, but he stressed: “We are focusing on ourselves, that’s the main thing.
“If we get ourselves right we know we will go a long way towards winning the game, so that’s what we are concentrating on.”
Rhinos are without full-back Zak Hardaker tonight as he serves a one-game ban.
That will put more pressure on Rhinos’ outside-backs and Hall admitted he is looking for a better personal performance than last week.
The England winger bagged a brace of tries in the 46-18 win over St Helens, but said: “I bombed a couple.
“It wasn’t as simple as catch it and put it down, but I’d like to think I’d have been able to score those tries.
“Luckily I’ve got 16 mates around me, helping me out and they were all on top form.
“They played really well so it didn’t cost us too much.”