We need to raise our game...at Leeds Rhinos and in Super League too – Ablett

Jordan Lilley.
Jordan Lilley.
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IT HAS been a strange season in Super League so far.

At the beginning of the year if you had said Leeds and Huddersfield would be at the bottom after 10 rounds, a lot of people would not have believed it.

Then, after the first few games, for Wakefield to go on a four-game winning run and beat Wigan 62-0, it just shows you can’t turn up on gameday, be without a lot of first-choice players and put in a six out of 10 performance and expect to get the two points.

It has got to the stage now that you have to be fully prepared, with a healthy squad and you have to approach the game properly, because teams at the bottom of the table can beat the ones at the top.

In previous years some teams could maybe go into games against certain other sides and they would be able to jag a win or grind one out without being on top of their game.

Now teams across the board are too good and too well prepared and you can’t take anybody lightly or any result for granted. It is almost impossible to predict what is going to happen and that has to be good for the competition, though not for teams like us and Huddersfield.

I’d be happy if we won every game, but from the neutrals’ point of view what people want to see is a level competition.

Everyone wants the gap between the best and the rest to get narrower, but there’s two ways of that happening – either by the lower sides getting better or the top ones dropping their standards.

Being totally honest, I think at the moment it is more a case of some of the usually better teams not playing as well. That is not me having a moan because we are struggling, it is an honest opinion. We all want the competition to level up. We want a competition that is high intensity, highly-skilled and high quality.

I think we need to raise our standards and play week-in and week-out at a better level.

I am sure there’s people much more qualified than me at the RFL who are working on that.

I am sure fans don’t want to watch games with not much skill involved or that are played at low intensity.

You want games every week that are tough to call, but you know they are going to be close and intense.

I have mentioned the Easter schedule and the salary cap in this column in the past and they are things that the sport probably needs to look at.

It is not ideal that we are getting 60-point scorelines, or even teams winning by 40. Everybody is full-time now and the competition has been going for 20 years, so matches should be a lot closer.

Everyone looks towards the NRL and the intensity there. If you watch the NRL every week you probably don’t see the drop-offs that you see over here.

Yes, I know we could do our bit by playing better, but believe me, we are trying.

You are probably fed up of hearing that and we are sick of saying it, but it’s true.

It is a difficult time, but as players we are not sitting around worrying about the table.

Personally, all I am looking at is how I can improve and help the team get better.

Confidence is low, but the coaching staff are helping all the lads to try and get that back.

The big thing is how do we turn these losses into wins?

Most of the defeats have been by less than a converted try, so we are not far off.

We just have to get back at it.

We have to review what we are doing as a team and as individuals and look at ways of getting better.

You get confidence from knowing you are prepared and going into games knowing you have done enough.

It is tough circumstances because we haven’t got the numbers we’d want at training and we are going into games a little bit under-prepared.

We have got lads who aren’t training and aren’t getting the work they need during the week.

As I said earlier, you can’t go into game under-prepared and expect to win, because teams are too good and they turn you over.

We aren’t the only ones in this situation, other teams have injuries as well, so we have to keep working hard, preparing as well as we can and I am sure we aren’t too far away from going on a good run.

Danny McGuire second try against Huddersfield (Picture: Steve Riding)

Leeds Rhinos captain Danny McGuire refusing to bow out quietly