A REPEAT of last week’s epic performance against St Helens won’t be enough to beat Castleford Tigers, according to Leeds Rhinos winger Ryan Hall.
Hall reckons the 28-20 victory which ended Saints’ 100 per cent start to the season was an indication of what the champions are capable of, but feels they can play better and will need to at Elland Road tomorrow.
Tigers have won eight of the sides’ last nine meetings, including a record 66-10 rout 12 months ago.
Leeds broke their losing sequence against Castleford in glorious style to win last October’s Grand Final and both teams are expected to be in the shake-up for the top-four this year.
Rhinos have won four of their opening five Betfred Super League games, but last week was their highest score of the campaign and Hall admits they are not yet firing on all cylinders with ball in hand.
“Our attack wasn’t that fluid,” Hall said of the victory away to the league leaders.
“What won it for us was our D [defence] and our desperation and determination not to give in.
“We knew we had to play from minute one to minute 80 and not take our foot off the gas.”
Hall believes Leeds are piecing their game together. He added: “There’s a long way to go in the season and as every game goes by we’ll get another piece in the jigsaw, another step towards what we are striving for.
“That’s what the season is all about. Every team goes through the same process with different areas. Some teams are trying to improve their D and we are trying to get our attack squeaky clean.”
The win last week will send Rhinos into the clash of last year’s top two in confident mood. They will again be without a host of first-choice players, but Hall said: “I don’t think many teams will go to Saints and get a result this year.
“In that context it was massive for us. We have shown glimpses this year of what we can do and we know we’ve got a good side.
“We’ve done it in bits and bats this year, against Hull we were good in spots, but we let them back into the game.
“But last week we had a bit of a talk and said we don’t want to let that happen again, because Saints will punish us.”
Leeds did not face any of 2017’s top-eight sides in their opening three games this year, but are in a run of successive matches against the other teams who reached the semi-finals.
Having already beaten Hull and St Helens, a win this week – against last year’s league leaders – would be proof they won’t give up their title easily.
“It’s a big game,” Hall stressed. “Obviously it’s a repeat of last year’s Grand Final and Cas are a good team.
“They’ve probably not been on fire as much as they were last year, but I know it is early in the season and they love playing against us. Up until the Grand Final they had beaten us eight in a row so we know we’ve got a big challenge ahead and we’ve got to play well.”