'It's a massive game' - Alex Mellor explains what Leeds Rhinos need to do better in Super League derby at Castleford Tigers
England Knights squad member Alex Mellor has outlined how he believes Leeds Rhinos can get back on track in Betfred Super League.
Rhinos have won only two games this year, both at home to Wakefield Trinity and were beaten 18-12 by Hull last weekend.
They visit Castleford Tigers on Friday and second-rower Mellor reckons a win then could turn Leeds’ season around.
Of what Rhinos need to do better, Mellor said: “Probably just a bit of execution with the ball - all being on the same page and singing from the same hymn sheet; just buying into it and really finishing off the opportunities we get.
“We had a couple that slipped away from us [against Hull], which cost us the game.
“We have to keep our defence strong and put our opportunities away with the ball.”
Rhinos have managed only 90 points in seven league matches, but Mellor added: “The thing is, we have got a team who can easily score 40 points a game.
“That’s one of the most disappointing things we are not doing.
“With 18 points conceded, we probably should still be winning that game with the strike we’ve got.
“It could have gone either way - we could have scored more and we could have held their tries out.
“If we give an extra 10-15 per cent in each of those areas I am sure the results will start coming our way.”
Rhinos will be three wins adrift of Tigers, who are in the sixth and final play-offs spot, if they lose this week.
Mellor said: “It’s a massive game, I think every game that comes at us now is pretty big with the start we’ve had.
“We have started behind and not put our best foot forward so far, so every game magnifies in importance.
“It is always a huge game against Cas and there’s fans back which makes it an even bigger occasion, but for us it is a real chance to get back on the horse and get our season kick-started.”
But Mellor insisted: “Rather than thinking ‘bigger picture’, we are thinking about our processes, take it week by week and once you put a couple of wins together you can start looking at the bigger picture.
“As it stands, we have to fix our processes and concentrate on the opponents that are coming next and the little things we can do in the game.
“They’ll hopefully result in a victory and then points on the table take care of themselves.
“Confidence and momentum is huge in sport.
“If a couple of close games go your way, all of a sudden you are confident and you’ve got the momentum with you and your thought processes are different.
“When you’re losing and your backs are against the wall, it’s a different game, it’s really tough to get it back.
“It’s about buying in together, sticking together as a group and trying to rectify what you’ve done.”
After trailing by 10 points at the break last weekend, Rhinos spent most of the second period battering Hull’s line, but managed only one more try - to add to Liam Sutcliffe’s opening score - when Tom Briscoe went over three minutes from time.
The players and staff have reviewed the Hull defeat and Mellor said: “It was probably a game we should have won.
“We had so much more field position, so much more good ball than them.
“Our defence was rock solid, we just had a couple of lapses, but I really think we could have kept them to nil - the way the game went - and we had a couple of chances we could have put away.
“It could quite easily have been a totally different scoreline, but the facts are the facts and we’ve come away with another loss, which is disappointing.”
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