Adam Cuthbertson: Key games ahead for Leeds Rhinos’ men and women

Canny mid-season signing by Leeds Rhinos, Robert Lui. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe/JPIMedia.
Canny mid-season signing by Leeds Rhinos, Robert Lui. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe/JPIMedia.
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There’s two big games coming up this weekend, for the women’s team and the men’s.

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Leeds Rhinos chief exec' Gary Hetherington. Picture: Bruce Rollinson/JPIMedia.

Leeds Rhinos chief exec' Gary Hetherington. Picture: Bruce Rollinson/JPIMedia.

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On Sunday we go to St Helens in the semi-finals of the Women’s Challenge Cup, which is obviously one of the most important fixtures since I’ve been coaching.

We won the trophy last year and we’d like to do it again, especially with the final being at Bolton in a triple-header with the men’s semi-finals.

We’re second in Super League, Saints are third so it is going to be tough and I don’t think we have performed at our best yet this year. The challenge for us is to go out there and give it our all and not look too far into what could be for us this season; we just have to concentrate on this semi-final and take it from there.

Leeds Rhinos director of rugby Kevin Sinfield. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Leeds Rhinos director of rugby Kevin Sinfield. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The girls had a good win at Bradford last week – which is never an easy place to go – but they were pretty disappointed with their performance, especially in good ball.

That had been brilliant the week before against Warrington in the Cup when we were firing on all cylinders. Hopefully we will get a response and put it all out there on Sunday.

One thing we are doing well is defending. We’ve conceded six points in our last four games and that has always been our strength. We pride ourselves on our goalline defence and when the opposition is in good ball, but we can’t rely on being really good defensively all the time. We have to combine it with better attack.

It is hard to become the complete team that’s perfect week-in, week-out, but we are really striving towards getting better.

Before that, it’s Cas away tonight and we are feeling pretty good about ourselves after the win over Catalans last Sunday and the way we have been working in training over the last few weeks.

I think the performance we had against Catalans was what we’ve been missing all year as a group. We are in a process now of building everyone’s confidence up to the point where we can start playing our best rugby. I think the performance last weekend showed everyone – ourselves, the fans and the club – that we’ve got the performance in us.

It’s just a matter of going out and executing it and being really confident off the back of what individuals bring to the team. It was a performance we needed going into a big game against Cas at their home ground. The boys seem to be buzzing and it’ll be good to get back out there.

We’ve had a lot of changes over the past week or so and it is a tough part of the game, the business side of things.

Gary Hetherington and Kevin Sinfield have had a tough year up in the top office, but I think some of the decisions they’ve made have been spot on even though we haven’t come up trumps from them straight away.

It is about building for the future now and I think Rob Lui coming in has really complemented Richie Myler.

He is shrewd, he has the ability to play off the cuff, but he is very good with structure as well.

He wasn’t happy with his kicking game last weekend, but he does have a really good kicking game and that takes a lot of pressure off Richie.

It was unfortunate Shaun Lunt got injured at training last week, but it’ll be good to see what he brings to the team and Rhyse Martin as well, who got here this week.

In terms of Matty Parcell and Tui Lolohea leaving, they are good mates of ours and we wish them all the best and hope it works out for them just as well as it has for us.