IN-FORM FULL-BACK Zak Hardaker reckons Leeds Rhinos are “due” a win over tomorrow’s hosts Huddersfield Giants.
Huddersfield are on a five-game winning streak against Rhinos, who haven’t beaten their West Yorkshire rivals since the 2011 Super League play-offs.
But with three wins under their belt in as many games this year, Rhinos will travel to John Smith’s Stadium in confident mood and Hardaker admitted tomorrow’s game is one they have been targeting.
“That’s something we’ve had a little look at,” Hardaker said of Giants’ nap hand of recent wins. We aren’t going to take it too much into account, but it’s a game we really want to win.
“Not just win it, but put in a really good team performance. Even if we lost, as long as we put in a good performance that would be good for us in the long-run. But with them beating us five times I think we are due a win over these guys.”
A big victory tomorrow could see Rhinos go top of the table and Hardaker added: “It’s good at the moment. The things we set in place before the season are really taking shape now.
“In the first few games we were just trying to get into the rhythm of it and the new systems,
but it all came together quite well at Catalan last week.
“It’s always a tough place to go and get the two points. We got the win and to put in a really good team performance was even better for us. We took a lot from that game and we’re looking forward to Friday night.”
Rhinos haven’t won their opening four Super League games since 2009, when they went on to finish top of the table.
“We want to be consistent,” Hardaker said. “The ball’s rolling at the moment and we want to keep it rolling.
“To do that we need to keep winning, but they don’t get any tougher than Huddersfield away on a Friday night, live on Sky.
“They have got key individuals and collectively as a team they are really strong – and I think them losing last weekend might make our job a bit harder.
“I think their coach will have been at them this week and they’ll have had a tough week. They will be determined to turn it around. We played really well against Catalan and patted each other on the back, but that’s gone now and we have to be good against this week.”
Hardaker has been in outstanding form so far this term and said he is happy with the way he is playing.
“I set my sights really high,” he said. “I am not going to get too carried away, but three games in I think my performances have been pretty good.
“But the team performance and the result is the most important thing. We are three from three at the moment and we want to keep going and hopefully make it four from four.”
Hardaker is expecting a busy night tomorrow, if Giants’ Man of Steel Danny Brough gets his kicking game into gear.
“He has probably got the best high bomb in Super League,” Hardaker said. “That’s part and parcel of the game – catching them is what full-backs get paid to do.”