Kruise Leeming column : Here's what I've admired most about Leeds Rhinos this season

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There’s three weeks left in the regular season and four games to go.

It’s a tough period coming up, especially with so many matches already under our belt, but that’s what’s happening and we’ve just got to get on with it.

At this time of the year you need energy and you need people to come bouncing into training, saying ‘yes, let’s go’.

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You don’t need people coming in and saying ‘I’m tired, I’m sore, I’ve played this number of games’.

Kruise Leeming celebrates his second try in last month's win at Hull.  Picture by Bruce Rollinson.Kruise Leeming celebrates his second try in last month's win at Hull.  Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
Kruise Leeming celebrates his second try in last month's win at Hull. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

There’s no room for that, it is like a virus that spreads across the whole team.

It starts off with one person saying it, then others get infected and before you know it the squad is riddled with negativity and a weak attitude, which gets you nowhere.

One of the things I am most proud of about this group is the way they stick together and stay positive - and level-headed - whatever the circumstances.

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It’s good to be hitting some form at the business end of the season, but when we were losing we tried not to get too down about it and now we’re winning, we won’t get carried away.

Muizz Mustapha's barnstorming performance at Hull KR illustrated the depth in Rhinos' squad. Picture by Bruce RollinsonMuizz Mustapha's barnstorming performance at Hull KR illustrated the depth in Rhinos' squad. Picture by Bruce Rollinson
Muizz Mustapha's barnstorming performance at Hull KR illustrated the depth in Rhinos' squad. Picture by Bruce Rollinson

In the tough times at the start of the year, we always kept really upbeat and that’s something I really admired.

The media and the fans were making a big deal of things - and rightly so, because our first half of the season wasn’t good enough - but we always felt things would turn around.

Under the circumstances it would have been easy to make excuses and let things get to us, but we didn’t do that.

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We’ve had three coaches this year, all with different ideas and ways of doing things and it isn’t easy to adjust straight away.

Daryl Powell's Warrington have nothing to lose when they visit Headingley this week. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comDaryl Powell's Warrington have nothing to lose when they visit Headingley this week. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
Daryl Powell's Warrington have nothing to lose when they visit Headingley this week. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Throughout all that, we were disappointed at losing, but never got too negative about things. We always believed in our squad and what it could do.

Everyone in the group had faith we would get ourselves out of it, we’d see light at the end of the tunnel and things would turn around.

Since Rohan Smith has come in, the systems he has put in place and the way he coaches have really worked for us.

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We are seeing the rewards now and it’s pleasing to be on a winning run, but we won’t be putting our cue on the rack.

We want to get into the play-offs and have a real crack at them and there’s still a lot of hard work to do.

We aren’t where we want to be, but we are on an upward curve.

When we get to the top we will look back at this period and be thankful for it, because it will have made us who we are.

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As captain - even one having to watch from the sidelines - I was proud of the way the team performed at Hull KR last week.

It reiterates the character we’ve got now in the squad and the depth.

We have lost some players to injury and all teams have suffered with that this year.

That has probably been the theme of the season, but what we are starting to build is a system that anybody in the squad can play in.

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You want to have depth in every position, that’s what makes you strong.

It’s not just the 17 players on the pitch who get you to a Grand Final or Wembley.

We are playing a lot of games in a high-intensity, contact sport.

You put your body on the line and that’s part and parcel of the game.

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You know what the risks are when you step on to the field, but the love of the game and the goals you are working towards are what spur you on.

We play Warrington at home on Friday and that’s (another) massive, must-win game for us.

It’s a very dangerous fixture because they’ve got nothing to lose; they aren’t going to get relegated and probably won’t get into the top-six, so the pressure is off and they can just go out and play.

They have endured a difficult year and aren’t where they wanted or expected to be, but there’s loads of quality in their squad and we need to be on our game.

Finally, just a bit of a personal injury update.

I am getting there with my recovery, I am feeling good and I am close now.

I don’t want to put a date on it, but my foot’s healing and I’m confident it won’t be too long before I am back on the field.