LEEDS RHINOS will go into Friday’s visit of Wigan Warriors in the better form and with fewer injuries, but England winger Ryan Hall insists they won’t be fooled into thinking they are in for an easy night.
Champions Wigan were the early pace-setters in Betfred Super League, but have not won in their last two matches while Rhinos are on a three-game hot streak.
But Hall warned: “Wigan lost to Hull last week and they are carrying a few injuries, but we know from history that doesn’t mean anything.
“I remember 2012 when they brought a severely weakened side to Headingley and they beat us by 50 points.
“We can’t look at that or take things lightly because we know how Wigan operate. They are a very professional team and they are very good.
“They’ve got strength all over the park, but let’s talk about ourselves. We got a gritty performance out of the way against Huddersfield last week.
“We played the first half well on our terms and we achieved what we set out to do, game plan-wise. The second half turned out to be very scrappy and there was no rhythm to the game, but it was a good win.”
Rhinos scored four first half tries to Giants’ two, but were under huge pressure for long spells after the break before a couple of penalty goals and Jordan Baldwinson’s first Super League try, in the final seconds, sealed a precious 28-12 win.
It was the sort of game Rhinos lost last year and Hall reckons the way they dug in and closed the match out proved they are making progress.
“You can put good systems in place, but sometimes you’ve got to have a bit of determination and it’s what you’ve got inside you that counts,” he said.
“You have to have pride in defending your tryline and that’s what wins you games and ultimately gets you to the big prizes. We’ve got to keep hold of that as best we can, but hopefully not rely on it too much and get the rest of our game up to speed.
“We don’t want to be spending as much time near our own line.”
Four weeks ago, after a record 66-10 defeat at Castleford Tigers, chief executive Gary Hetherington gave Rhinos’ players and coaches until the end of the month to turn things around.
They have responded with three successive wins, scoring 112 points and conceding only 36. Hall insisted: “We were fully under control the day after we played Cas.
“We have been there before, it was everybody else who was kicking up a bit of a fuss. We took care of ourselves, that’s what we had to do and things are certainly looking a bit healthier now.
“Our attack is starting to come together. You can do a lot of work in pre-season, but some teams get it a bit quicker than others, like Castleford have done.
“They hit the ground running, their attack seems to be flowing and ours didn’t really get off the ground until the last couple of weeks. It is good that has come along now and we just need to keep building and see what develops.”