Castleford Tigers v Leeds Rhinos - Richie Myler expects big things from link with Luke Gale once combination has time to gel
AFTER A stop-start opening to the season, Richie Myler says his aim for the rest of the year is to stay on the field and help Leeds Rhinos regain some form.
Myler started at full-back in Rhinos’ win over Wakefield Trinity in Betfred Super League round one, but then missed three games with a hamstring injury.
He returned in the game away to Hull KR, at stand-off, but a sin-binning in that fixture led to a two-match ban, which kept him on the sidelines until last Sunday’s defeat by Hull, when he was back as the last line of defence.
Friday’s derby at Castleford Tigers will be only Myler’s fourth appearance this year - in Rhinos’ ninth competitive fixture - and just his third of the season alongside scrum-half Luke Gale.
That partnership was hugely influential in Rhinos’ 2020 Challenge Cup-winning campaign and regular changes in the spine of the team have contributed to Leeds’ poor run so far this term.
Myler said: “It has been a disjointed start to the year for me, with an injury and then a suspension.
“I am just trying to get that fluidity back into my game and work on building our combinations.
“I thought we had enough chances to win [last weekend’s] game and I think if we were three or four games in with our combinations, we would have nailed the good ball attack stuff.
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be, but we will build on that and we’ve got a quick turn around to Cas.”
Myler added: “Me and Galey have a really good partnership, but we didn’t quite nail some of our attack last week.
“That kind of showed in the fact we didn’t score enough points.
“We had enough chances to score enough points and I think if we had been a little bit more clinical together - as a team and between me and Luke - we would have posted more points.
“We are doing a lot of things right in our game and a lot of aspects of our performance is right, there’s just a few things - fundamental things - we are getting wrong and that’s what’s hurting us.”
Myler feels Rhinos’ defence is in good shape and stressed: “We’re working hard and our effort for one another is not questionable.
“There’s just a few lapses and some individual stuff we’re not getting right at the minute.
“We need to improve on that.”
This week's game is a big one for both teams. Tigers are on a two-game losing run in Super League and began round eight in the sixth and final play-offs spot.
Victory would move them three wins ahead of Leeds and boost their confidence for next week’s Cup semi-final against Warrington Wolves.
Myler said: “It’s a big one for where we are at in our season.
“We need to get some momentum going and start coming up with some points.
“It doesn’t come much bigger for Leeds than the Cas game, so the boys will be chomping at the bit.
“We’ve not had too long to dwell on last week and we need to come up with a good performance, but playing against Cas it is going to be a tough game, especially at their place.”
Rhinos have visited the Jungle for almost two years, since an 18-10 win on July 5, 2019 and their last away fixture in front of a crowd was in February, 2020, at Salford Red Devils.
The near-neighbours met only once in 2020, Leeds winning 28-24 at an empty Emerald Headingley and Tigers’ 18-10 success last month was also staged behind closed doors, at St Helens.
All 4,000 tickets for the game have been sold and Myler reckons the crowd will lift Rhinos, even if the vast majority of them are supporting Tigers.
“I thought the fans last week were amazing, it showed you how much we missed them,” he said.
“They mean an awful lot to us.
“It has been a long time and we have really missed them.
“We are in the entertainment business and having people there to clap and sing to you is why we all play the game.
“I think it was nice for them to be there, they have stuck by us and a lot of them didn’t take their season ticket money back, which I think is credit to them.
“It’s unfortunate we couldn’t get the result, but they will stick with us and hopefully we’ll turn it round as quickly as possible.”
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