11-try Rout of Castleford Tigers has boosted Leeds Rhinos' confidence says forward Rhyse Martin

Leeds Rhinos' goal kicking forward Rhyse Martin admits they still need to improve, but says confidence has been lifted by the record win at Castleford Tigers.

By Peter Smith
Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 4:46 am

Rhinos are up to eighth in Betfred Super League following last week’s 60-6 success at the Jungle, when they ran in 11 tries.

Tigers scored after just 87 seconds, but Rhinos responded with six first half touchdowns to open a 32-6 lead at the break.

They increased that early in the second period and then finished strongly with four more tries in the final 15 minutes.

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Rhinos celebrate their win at the Jungle. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

It was Leeds’ biggest score since a 66-12 thrashing of Toronto Wolfpack in their final game before the first lockdown, in March last year.

“We’ve been in games this year and not found that last pass, that last option, but our effort has been outstanding,” Martin - who kicked eight conversions from 11 attempts - said.

“We knew we weren’t far off getting a win like that, but I’m just really happy we performed pretty much to what we are capable of.”

Before last Friday, Rhinos had managed a total of only 90 points in seven Super League rounds and hadn’t scored more than two tries in the competition since a win over Wakefield Trinity in their opening game.

Martin felt the performance at Castleford was “how we usually play”.

He said: “It’s where we have been kind of struggling a little bit, trying to find our rhythm again.

“It will really help with our confidence.

“We have really been struggling to put points on the board, but the game [on Friday] gives us that bit of confidence, knowing we can score tries.”

Martin was also encouraged by the fact Leeds’ tries were scored in various different ways.

The wingers and centres on both flanks all crossed, Rhinos scored a couple of tries off kicks and from dummy-half, as well as with a long-range move in the final stages.

Martin said: “We were scoring on all sides of the field, left-side, right-side, down the middle - it was just a really great team performance, one of the best I have been part of with the club.”

Leeds have no game this weekend and return to the field against reigning champions St Helens at Emerald Headingley on Friday, June 11.

“It is a hard thing to back up a performance like that,” Martin warned.

“You’re not in the grind of the game, you’re not in that tough patch for much of it when you are winning by 60 points.

“It’s important when we get into that grind, we ice our opportunities when we get them, but it gives us the confidence to throw that pass or to find that pass.”

Tigers’ try came in their first set with the ball, but Leeds hit back almost immediately and Martin felt that was another good sign - along with restricting the opposition to six points.

“That’s been our saving grace at the start of the season, our defence,” he said.

“Some games we haven’t played great, we’ve not been great with the ball, but in defence everyone turns up for each other and puts in the hard work and that’s why scores in our games haven’t blown out. It is really good to build on that defence and not let one try faze us.”

Meanwhile, Martin’s contract ends this autumn and the Australia-born Papua New Guinea international confirmed his future has not yet been decided.

“Hopefully, if we keep playing like this, it will sort itself out quickly,” he said.

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