NEWS OF Wigan Warriors’ result at Widnes Vikings rubbed salt into prop Kylie Leuluai’s wounds after Leeds Rhinos’ 13-12 home loss to St Helens.
Rhinos began First Utility Super League round 25 in third spot in the table, four points adrift of Saints and one behind Wigan.
The draw between Warrington Wolves and Huddersfield Giants, who were level on points with Leeds, nudged the Challenge Cup holders down the ladder, but with two rounds remaining they could still finish anywhere from second to sixth.
Wigan, though, were beaten at Widnes and had Rhinos – who were 12-2 up in the final quarter of the game – held on, they would have moved up to second.
“It was a good performance from us,” Leuluai said of Rhinos’ effort with 12 men, after Joel Moon was sent-off in the first half.
“We didn’t get the two points we desperately wanted, but that’s the way it goes.
“The fact Wigan lost on Friday makes it even more disappointing we lost.
“I look back at the London game and we nearly grabbed the two points there.
“Fair play to London, but they were two we should have got.
“We have lost a lot of games by one score this year and that doesn’t sit well.
“We are proud of the effort, but it is going to be very tough thinking about it.
“We could have won the game, or even got a draw. We would have been happy with a draw.”
It was a battling effort by Rhinos, just six days after their Tetley’s Challenge Cup final victory.
“The coaching staff managed us well, they did a great job,” Leuluai said. “When you play in a final you use a lot of energy and mentally it is draining, so to come back out and play like that is very satisfying.”
Leuluai reckons Rhinos will have a chance of reaching the Grand Final, wherever they finish on the league table. He said: “We have still got two games to go and we don’t know what will happen with the other teams. Even if we finish fifth it doesn’t mean we won’t get to the final. How many teams have won it from first in the last few years?”
Meanwhile, a second half fightback wasn’t enough for Rhinos under-19s, who were beaten 22-16 at Salford Red Devils.
Billy McDermott, Brad England and Elliot Minchella were try scorers for Leeds – who trailed 22-0 at the break – and Jordan Lilley kicked two conversions.