Brad Dwyer: Leeds Rhinos can't let hard work go to waste in Wakefield Trinity showdown
The hard work put in against Wigan will be wasted if Leeds Rhinos don’t perform in today’s derby against Wakefield Trinity, leading try scorer Brad Dwyer has warned.
Rhinos climbed to fifth in the table following their 14-0 win at DW Stadium last Wednesday, but Castleford Tigers, Hull KR and Hull are all snapping at their heels with four games remaining in the regular season.
Dwyer wasn’t shocked by Rhinos’ first away victory over his hometown club for eight years, but stressed: “It’s the same as always - we know these performances are in us, it’s just about getting the consistency and rocking up and doing it again.
“That will be the challenge again [today].
“It will all go to waste if we don’t turn up and perform at Wakey.”
Dwyer insisted: “The way this year is, with the short turnarounds, anyone can beat anyone.
“If you turn up lacking energy or the desire to rip in for each other we showed the other night, any team can turn you over.
“We’ve got to make sure we turn up focused and fully prepared.”
The top-three of Catalans Dragons, St Helens and Warrington Wolves have a gap, but the next five teams - including fourth-placed Wigan - are battling for the final play-offs spots.
The win percentage system makes it difficult to predict how many more victories are needed and Dwyer admitted: “The way the league’s set out, it seems like we are being punished for playing more games, but it’s just the way it is and, thankfully, it is in our own hands.
“We have to go and do a job at Wakey and it puts us in a position to finish the season strongly and get in the play-offs.
“If we are in the play-offs, we know we can challenge anyone.”
As evidence for that, since the start of July Rhinos have won away to Warrington, Hull and Wigan.
“We’ve had good performances against Catalans away and against Saints in the Cup earlier in the year,” Dwyer pointed out.
“We don’t fear anyone, the problem is dealing with what’s been thrown at us - the adversity.
“We probably should have been in a stronger position, if we’d closed a couple of games out a bit better, but our main focus is Wakey.
“If we go and do a job there we are in a decent position to push on for the rest of the year.”
Trinity have won two of their three games since former Rhinos player and assistant-coach Willie Poching took over as interim-boss earlier this month.
“Wakey are always the same,” Dwyer noted. “They can turn up and give you a game on any day.
“They’ve had a couple of good wins and when I first came through at Warrington, Willie was the assistant, with Tony [Smith].
“I have done a bit of work with him, he’s a really good bloke and I am sure he’ll be wanting to make the most of his opportunity, just - hopefully - not this week.”
On a personal note, Dwyer - despite starting the majority of games on the bench - is now on 10 tries for the season, the only Leeds player in double figures.
He admitted to being “surprised” by that, but said: “Kruise [Leeming, Rhinos’ other hooker] is up there as well and I think that shows how our year has been.
“We’ve not been able to get consistency with our half-backs, there’s been some chopping and changing every week and we’ve spoken about attacking from acting-half.
“The big pack we’ve got creates opportunities for us and thankfully I’ve been able to get on the back of some of them.”
Dwyer stressed: “I don’t think Thursday against Wigan was my best game, too many errors, but hopefully I’ll fix that up and get over for a couple more before the end of the year.
“But that’s on the back of the pack we’ve got, how big and powerful they are - that creates ruck speed, which creates opportunities for me.”
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