Kruise Leeming’s View From The Pitch: Why Leeds Rhinos’ break has been hard work

WE WOULD rather have been playing in the Challenge Cup last weekend, but it wasn’t to be and we have got to turn the two weeks we’ve had without a game into a real positive.

By Kruise Leeming
Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 4:55 pm

The break came at a good time for us, after what happened at the end of last month and with Easter coming up.

After the start to the season we’ve had, there was a lot of work to do and plenty to look at and analyse and we’ve had a chance to do that.

When games are coming thick and fast it’s difficult to train as hard as you want to because you’ve got to recover right for the matches coming up.

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Leeds Rhinos prop Matt Prior runs into trouble in the recent Challenge Cup defeat to Castleford Tigers. The sides meet in Super League on Easter Monday. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

But, with us not having a game for two weeks, we’ve been able to push the boat out, train a bit harder than we can in a game week and get through some stuff we needed to work on.

It has almost reset our mindset a little bit and it’s like starting again now, at a crucial stage of the season.

Training over the last couple of weeks has been really hard, but that’s a good thing and we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

I’ve said all along it is hard work that will get us through this rough patch we are in.

Leeds Rhinos hooker Brad Dwyer is swamped by Castleford Tigers players during the recent Challenge Cup encounter. The sides meet in Super League on Easter Monday. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

The hard work we’ve got through over the last couple of weeks will only be beneficial; I can’t see us regretting it or it hindering us at all.

That said, I still feel like we’ve got a lot more hard work to do. I am not saying our season’s going to change overnight and we’ll go on a 10-game winning streak, though that would be nice.

But we have put in a lot of hard work and, hopefully, we should reap the rewards soon.

Easter is an important time in the season and we’ve got three tough matches coming up, starting with Huddersfield at home tomorrow.

Commiserations for Leeds Rhinos players and congratultaions for Castleford Tigers players after the sides' recent Challenge Cup meeting. The sides meet again, in Super League, on Easter Monday. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

My old team are going well, they are through to a Cup semi-final and they’ll be coming to Headingley confident, based on the way they have been playing this year.

They look like a really well-drilled team, they look fit and they have got some good wins under their belt, including against Catalans a couple of weeks ago and Hull in the Cup last Saturday. They have always had a decent team, so the spirit seems to have changed.

They have always been one of those teams that can turn over big names.

When I was there, we’d go to Wigan or Saints and beat them and now, with a little bit of confidence put in place, they look like a really solid, good team.

We are going to have to play really well to beat them, which is perfect for us.

Where we’re at, we need challenges and pressure.

In the St Helens game two weeks ago, there was some improvement is us and we need big games against tough teams to bring that out.

Easter is tough on us as players physically, but I do think with the young lads coming through and the depth we’ve got in our squad, if we string three wins together it will suddenly be a totally different ball game.

We’ll be up in or near the top-six so we have to look at the next week or so as an opportunity to get some wins, rather than it being tough and tiring. It is like that for everyone, but it could be a real turning point in our season.

We are going into it pretty fresh, we’ll have some players back this week and there’s no reason why we can’t go out tomorrow, in front of our own fans and show what we are really capable of.

Then, on Monday, it is Castleford away which is another big game for a lot of reasons.

It’s a derby, there’ll be a big crowd and we owe them one. We didn’t play particularly well when we came up against them in the Cup a few weeks ago and we were really disappointed with what happened that afternoon.

We know Cas are a good side, but we are a better team than we were in that tie.

Then, after Cas, we’ve got Toulouse at home, which is obviously another very important fixture.

I really believe we are building and these games coming thick and fast is good for us.