Kruise Leeming’s View from the Pitch: Why there’s still a good vibe about the Leeds Rhinos squad

LIKE A lot of players, I want to be part of this year’s World Cup.

By Kruise Leeming
Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 5:47 am

Being named in the England training squad was the first step and it is a shame this week’s session, which had been planned for yesterday at Headingley, was called off.

Too many players were going to be missing because of injuries picked up last weekend, but I think it is important we do get to train together this season, before final preparations for the World Cup begin.

We struggled a bit last year as well, getting training sessions in.

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Back-from-suspension pack man James Bentley is a welcome addition to Leeds Rhinos' squad to face Salford Red Devils says captain Kruise Leeming. Picture: Steve Riding.

I know clubs have reasons for holding players back but, in a World Cup year, we need to make sure our preparations are spot on, so it was disappointing we couldn’t train this week.

It is always an honour to get picked for your country but I am taking nothing for granted; I know there’s still a lot of hard work to do.

The train-on squad could completely change between now and the first match; it has been picked on who is on form at the minute and that’s what will decide who gets in at the end of the year.

I know there’s a long way to go and a lot of steps I need to take to get there but I am really happy, my family is really proud and, hopefully, I can be in the squad for October and November.

Leeds Rhinos forward James Bentley. Picture: Jack Wray/SLE/ via SWpix.com.

Last week was frustrating for me and I can’t wait to be back on the field for Rhinos at Salford on Friday. It is a good week for me to come back to help the lads, after the disappointment last Thursday.

The big thing for us is to work hard and play for each other.

We’ve had a lot of meetings where we’ve talked about playing for each other and there’s a good vibe and a good atmosphere around the place.

Obviously, losing is never good and it always hurts but, when you are playing well and winning every week, you are never as good as you think you are and the same applies in reverse.

We definitely aren’t as bad as last week’s result - and the ones that went against us before that - suggest.

There’s a few things to fix up but what we need to do is focus on ourselves, work hard and take it one training session at a time and I think the bigger picture will take care of itself.

We have a good group and it’s about everybody getting it right on the night.

We have talked a bit about what makes us each play well as an individual.

In these situations, when you are losing and it’s hard, everyone tends to look at what other people do.

We have tried to put the focus back on ourselves and look at what we can do to be the best version of ourselves. If 17 players go out and are as good as they can be, we will go a long way towards winning a lot of rugby matches.

Friday won’t be easy; as I keep saying, there’s no easy games in Super League, but a win takes care of most things.

It will be good to get James Bentley back for this week’s game after his four-match ban and I know he is looking forward to playing.

Since he came to the club, he has not been able to show everyone what he can do, which must have been frustrating, but he has been training hard and he looks ready.

He is a quality player, he has had a few extra weeks to work on things and I know he will be a good addition to the team against Salford for what is a very big game for us, as they all are.

The Challenge Cup draw on Monday was interesting.

Castleford at home is a huge tie and both clubs will fancy their chances of going all the way this year.

We won it in 2020 and Castleford were runners-up last year and, once you’ve been to a final, you always want to go back.

It is a tough draw but every game at this stage is going to be and, at the moment, we’ve got more immediate things on our mind.

We need to get Friday’s game out of the way, with a win and a good performance and then we can look forward to taking on Castleford.

The next game is always the most important and Salford is our priority this week.