It’s up to the players to turn things around says Leeds Rhinos’ Rhyse Martin

MARKSMAN RHYSE Martin reckons the key to salvaging Leeds Rhinos’ season is in the players’ hands.

By Peter Smith
Friday, 25th March 2022, 5:03 pm

Interim-coach Jamie Jones-Buchanan will be in charge for the first time when Rhinos take on Castleford Tigers in a Betfred Challenge Cup sixth round derby at Headingley tomorrow.

The former assistant-coach took over when Richard Agar resigned on Monday and Martin believes he is a good appointment, but insisted the squad on the field has to take responsibility.

“It has been a bit of a strange week for us, but we have tried to focus on [tomorrow’s] game.” the goal kicking second-rower said.

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Leeds Rhinos' Rhyse Martin and Castleford Tigers' Niall Evalds with the Challenge Cup ahead of tomorrow's clash at Headingley. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

“That’s all we can really do at this point; we really need to find a win and we have tried to move on as best we can.

“It’s within the group, we have definitely got the team to turn things around.

“Everyone knows we’ve had a very poor start, definitely not what we expected, but I think we can do that.

“Challenge Cup weekend gives us a new focus, I am confident we can turn things around and hopefully it’s this weekend.”

Leeds Rhinos' Rhyse Martin is tackled by Warrington's Oliver Holmes and George Williams. Picture: Tony Johnson.

Tomorrow would be the ideal time for Rhinos to find their form after just five wins from their opening six Betfred Super League games.

As well as Jones-Buchanan’s first game in charge, the derby tie against Rhinos’ fiercest rivals is being televised live on BBC 2 and the victors will be just two more wins away from the final.

But Rhinos have lost all three of their home games so far this term and their most recent win at Headingley was against Hull KR in September last year.

We haven’t had a good run at home,” Martin admitted.

“We need to make it so teams coming here know they are in for a tough game.

“We definitely need to show a positive attitude and get a win this weekend.”

Of what has been going wrong, Martin added: “We have been struggling week-in, week-out, whether we are home or away.

“We are trying to find our rhythm, we’ve had a lot of sin-binnings which haven’t helped at all.

“We can’t get into a flow in games and that is hurting us.

“It has been a tough start, we haven’t had a consistent team on the field, with injuries and suspensions.

“I am not making excuses, but we need to have a few stable weeks where the team’s not changing, we are able to build on combinations and we can build confidence within the group and I think it will show.

“But for starters we need to be able to play the game with 13 players.”

Jones-Buchanan has been on Rhinos’ coaching staff since the end of 2019.

Martin lined up alongside him in his final season as a player and backed him to make a success of the role.

“He has got a lot of respect in the group,” Martin said.

“He has been thrown in the deep end a little bit, but he will grow into the role.

“The playing group we’ve got has a lot of experience, which will help him.

“The way he can motivate people and get people behind him, I think that will make a big difference.

“I am confident he can do the job, I know he is excited for the challenge and that brings a bit of excitement into the group as well.

“I am confident we can turn things around under Jonesy.”

Meanwhile, Rhinos’ women were due to be in Challenge Cup action on Sunday, but their tie at Hull FC in the second round of the group stage has been called off.

Rhinos under-18s visit Warrington Wolves tomorrow.

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