Five-time champion Rob Burrow says Leeds Rhinos’ disappointing year can still have a glorious finish.
Rhinos’ season goes on the line tonight when they take on visitors Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in a Stobart Super League elimination play-off.
The defending champions failed to finish high enough up the table to earn an extra life in the play-offs and Burrow described Rhinos’ second successive fifth place finish as “disappointing”.
But the half-back/hooker insisted they can still rise to the challenge of equalling last year’s record-breaking march to Old Trafford.
“It is not Leeds-like,” Burrow admitted. “We have been fifth the last couple of years and we’d like to have finished in the top-two. That is our goal and we failed in that again this year.
“We didn’t want a repeat of last year, but we are in the same situation and we certainly hope we can replicate what we did last season.
“We will have to do things differently, because last year we had some good form after Wembley. We’re going in on the back of a bad defeat, so that’s different, but we are always up for challenges.
“We want to be champions and we’re still confident we can be.
“We are just looking forward to hopefully turning it up in the play-offs and finding form.”
Burrow admitted last week’s 48-24 defeat at 12-man Huddersfield Giants was a set-back, but he stressed: “The good thing is that game didn’t affect where we finished.
“It wasn’t irrelevant because we need to perform better, but it means nothing – we can still turn things around this week and that’s what we’re focusing on.”
In contrast, Wakefield will go into tonight’s derby on a seven-match winning run and full of confidence.
“They are in great form, one of the form teams in Super League,” said Burrow. “Every time we’ve played them this year it has been tough.
“We are certainly aware of what they did against us last time, when they gave us a bit of a hiding.
“They have got some experienced players in there and some ex-Leeds lads, who will want to have big games coming back to Headingley.
“They are a really tough team and we know we’ve got to play really well, because we don’t want a repeat of what happened the last time we played them.”