Kruise Leeming: Leeds Rhinos will thrive on Magic Weekend atmosphere in huge clash with Hull FC
Hooker/half-back Kruise Leeming could be Leeds Rhinos’ talisman in the Magic Weekend meeting with Hull at St James’ Park, Newcastle today.
Leeming has a 100 per cent record at the event from his time at Huddersfield Giants, winning all four Magic matches he has played in.
After winning at the first six Magic Weekends, Rhinos went on a similar losing run, before beating London Broncos the last time the event was staged, two years ago.
Leeming, who joined Rhinos ahead of last season, reckons there are multiple reasons for playing well today (Saturday) - headed by the situation on the league ladder.
“We need to get a win,” Leeming stressed. “It’s a really important game for us to try and get in the top-six.”
With three rounds remaining, the fifth versus seventh showdown would be huge wherever it was played, but being at Magic gives it an added edge, Leeming reckons.
“It’s such a good occasion and such a good place to play, the atmosphere’s always fantastic,” he said.
“It almost feels like a final, you are out of your comfort zone a bit and anything can happen on the day.
“I prefer playing in the bigger games, when the atmosphere’s there, because there’s not much needs saying in the changing rooms.
“I don’t think the coach needs any big speeches to get you up for those games, because the occasion speaks for itself.
“It’s one you look for on the calendar and you want to go and put on your best show. Form goes out of the window.”
And Leeming is confident the occasion and importance of the game will bring the best out of Rhinos.
“You want to do your job to the best of your ability every time you take to the field, but to get in that top-six it is a big game for both teams, a must-win,” he said.
“We seem to be playing better in the pressure games at the minute, the ones that mean the most.
“We seem to perform better against the top sides, so hopefully we can go out and give a good performance.”
Leeming could continue in the halves against Hull and confirmed he is enjoying the role, though he sees his long-term future at hooker.
He said: "It’s good because when I play half-back it’s helping me play nine a little bit.
"I know what a half-back wants from me when I go to nine and vice versa.
"I know how hard it is playing nine so I know what I want from my half-back in terms of talk to make my job easier.
"It’s helping me play both positions. I’ll play wherever the team needs me to play to get a win and I’m enjoying.
"It’s easy to slot in at half-back at a team like Leeds when you have such good players around you."
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