SKIPPER KEVIN Sinfield insists there are no guarantees for Leeds Rhinos tonight, as they prepare to face Hull for the second time in six days.
Rhinos were 32-20 winners in a home First Utility Super League clash last Sunday, but Sinfield reckons this evening’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final, at KC Stadium, is a whole new ball game.
“We just needed to pick up the two points,” Sinfield said of the opening part of the double-header – the third such series between the sides in six seasons.
“We were scratchy at times and at times we invited Hull to play on us, but we’ve got to give respect to Hull as well.
“They are a good side and we know what they are capable of.
“They’ve had some good wins of late, so it sets it up nicely for this week.
“It gives each team a little taster of what to expect, but there’s only so much you can change between Sunday and Friday.
“We will both be looking forward to it.
“Obviously they are at home, it is a great track to play on and we will go there and give it our best shot.”
Rhinos, who hit back from 12-0 down at the break to win a league game 43-12 at KC Stadium in March, will go into tonight’s tie as Super League leaders.
The win on Sunday lifted them a point above St Helens into top spot and that was a timely boost, according to Sinfield.
Rhinos, who were six points clear in April, were knocked off pole position the previous week when they lost at home to Castleford, but Tigers then did their near-neighbours a favour by beating Saints.
“It’s important to us,” Sinfield said of being in first place.
“The last couple of years we’ve not been where we’d have liked to have been, league-wise, but it’s only 19 rounds and there’s still all to play for.
“We just needed to get a decent performance last weekend and the two points, just to get back on track.
“Thankfully we did that and now we’re looking forward to another big game this week.”
Last weekend’s victory came at a cost, with Danny McGuire (ankle), Liam Sutcliffe (knee) and Adam Cuthbertson (calf) picking up injuries which could rule them out of tonight’s return, though all three have been named in Leeds’ initial 19-man squad.
Of their chances of playing tonight, Sinfield said: “The guys are quick healers and they all want to be out there playing.
“I am sure they will recover in the right way and get the best medical care, as everyone does here.”
The injuries to McGuire and Sutcliffe, who were last week’s starting half-backs, could mean a recall to the 13 for Sinfield after being among the substitutes for the past two games.
“You just want to play, don’t you,” said the skipper, who will leave Rhinos in November to join their Yorkshire Carnegie sister club.
“I understand where we’re at with it and I want to contribute, like everybody else.
“I want to get out there and play as long as I can and try and make a positive contribution.
“It was nice to be out there on Sunday and get a little bit longer and get the two points.
“Now we have to build on it and try and take it into Friday.”