Kruise Leeming’s View From The Pitch: Top six is bare minimum for Rhinos

I enjoyed being part of the All Stars. Everyone wants to represent their country and I am no different, but that has been and gone now and I am focused totally on Leeds and getting into the top six.

By Kruise Leeming
Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 4:43 pm

I’ve had to cut last week off and forget about it, because we are getting into the business end of the season and playing well for Leeds and helping us climb the ladder is all that matters now.

We’ve got 12 games left and I can’t wait to get my teeth into them. I really think we can do something special and get into that top six.

That’s all our goal is from now on, then we’ll see what happens from there.

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Leeds Rhinos captain and hooker Kruise Leeming has huge respect for fellow 'nine' James Roby, of St Helens. Picture: Paul Currie/SWpix.com.

Obviously, after a disappointing first half of the season, we are playing catch-up, but I have no doubt at all we can make it into the play-offs.

We could go on a run and win 10 of our last 12 games. We have definitely got the ability in the squad to do that.

As a captain, that is what I am driving and striving for. I think getting into that top six is the bare minimum of what everybody involved with Leeds needs and deserves.

We had a poor result last time out, but we have been heading in the right direction for the past couple of months and our squad is looking a lot healthier than it was a few weeks ago, which is a big positive.

Leeds Rhinos Wheelchair teams plays its third Challenge Cup final in a row on the weekend. Picture: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com.

We know when we’ve got our best team on the field and we play to our ability, we can match anybody in Super League.

I don’t like to heap a lot of pressure on the lads coming back; after so long out it is tough for them to be firing and playing their best from the off, but it is good to get a bit more quality in our team.

Hopefully, if they can come in and do their job to the best of their ability, it will stand us in good stead to give St Helens a good run for their money.

It goes without saying it will be a tough game tomorrow. Saints are the benchmark, and have been for a few seasons.

Leeds Rhinos Women tackle St Helens in a curtain raiser to Thursday' Super League encounter between the two clubs. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire.

It’s hard to be at the top for so long because everybody wants to beat you, every week. To be as consistent as they have been is a real credit to them, but Wigan showed they are beatable in the Challenge Cup semi-final and went on to win the trophy and that’s what we are looking to do.

If we can go and cause an upset at St Helens, it is a very quick way to turn the season into a positive. We need a massive game from all our players to do that, but we have definitely got that in us and we’re looking forward to going there and showing what we can do.

You have got to want to play against the best teams and individuals and, personally, I seem to perform better in the ‘bigger games’.

I don’t need any extra motivation; the pressure I put myself under to play well against the likes of James Roby seems to bring the best out of me and, hopefully, I can do my job this week and help the lads get the result we want.

James Roby has been brilliant for our sport and for Saints. To be a one-club man and to achieve what he has is fantastic. He is definitely somebody I watched when I was growing up and starting out in the sport, and I have taken bits out of his game and added them to mine, or tried to.

I respect him for what he has done, but I am going to be up against him this week and I want to show I can go toe to toe with the ‘big boys’.

It’s a big weekend for our club, with the women playing Saints before our game [on Thursday evening] and the wheelchair team in their Challenge Cup final, against Catalans Dragons, on Saturday.

For them to be going for a third Cup final win in succession is fantastic for our club and something we should all celebrate.

If they can do the ‘three-peat’ it will be really special. On behalf of all the lads, I want to wish them all the best and I hope they bring the trophy back.