Leeds Rhinos: Singleton’s sights set on return to Wembley

Brad Singleton.
Brad Singleton.
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RISING STAR Brad Singleton is desperate for a return to Wembley this year – and a chance to play on the hallowed turf.

Singleton made 24 appearances for Leeds Rhinos last season, but was not selected for the Challenge Cup final win over Castleford Tigers.

Rhinos begin their defence of the trophy, now sponsored by Ladbrokes, on Saturday with a home tie against Huddersfield Giants.

And Singleton, who is ever-present this season, admitted he has set his sights on helping Rhinos get back to the final and being part of the team which features on the big stage.

“It was disappointing,” he said of missing out on the 2014 showpiece.

“But we got the win and it was a big experience.

“I’d never been down to Wembley, because for all the other finals I was with the academy, so it was a good experience to get down there.

“It was disappointing on a personal level, but it was good to see the boys win it.”

Last season’s triumph ended a 15-year wait to bring the Challenge Cup back to Leeds, but Singleton insisted the “hunger” in the camp remains just as strong ahead of this weekend’s sixth round tie.

The competition’s new format means last year’s top-eight Super League teams need to win just three Cup games to reach the final and Singleton stressed: “With the team we’ve got, we’re hungry just to win trophies.

“I want to be involved with that. Huddersfield on Saturday is our first test and hopefully we’ll get a win then.

“It is do or die and we have to turn up with the right attitude and fix things up from last weekend.

“We need to take the positives, work on the negatives and hopefully get the win.”

Rhinos will need to up their game after going three matches without a win since their 41-16 thrashing of St Helens last month.

“I wouldn’t say it’ a slump,” Singleton said. “In all three games we’ve been competitive, especially the first two (against Warrington Wolves and Huddersfield). At Widnes last weekend it was very disappointing, but I think we will fix that up and sort it out for Saturday.”

Rhinos drew 24-24 at Huddersfield two weeks ago and Singleton said Leeds know what to expect in front of the BBC television cameras in two days’ time.

“They are a very good team,” he said. “ It was a bit of an insight for both sides, playing each other so recently, but hopefully we can put in a good performance and it should be a good game. We were good in the first half last time, but they also made a few errors. We just need to continue with the form from that first half and hopefully carry it on for the full 80.”

Singleton reckons a win this weekend would get Leeds’ faltering season back on course.

He said: “It would be a spirit-lifter. Going through the rounds of the Challenge Cup is always uplifting.”

Meanwhile, Rhinos under-19s face Salford Red Devils at AJ Bell Stadium tomorrow (6pm).

Jimmy Keinhorst

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