Leeds Rhinos must ramp up their defensive aggression, insists Konrad Hurrell
MARQUEE SIGNING Konrad Hurrell reckons Leeds Rhinos need to play with more aggression.
The Tongan centre is confident the current strugglers have what it takes to score points, but admits they are letting themselves down in defence.
Rhinos led 10-0 after nine minutes at Hull last weekend, but conceded 30 points in a 22-minute spell before the break and were well beaten 34-10.
Leeds – who have played a game more than most of their rivals – have the worst defensive record in the competition, but the sixth-best attack.
The setback at Hull came a week after a 35-18 home defeat by Wakefield Trinity and Hurrell described Rhinos’ fifth loss in six Betfred Super League games this year as a “tough one to take”.
He said: “We got off to a good start, but then we couldn’t get our hands on the ball and our defence wasn’t good.
“They got on a roll in the first half and it was hard to stop them.
“We came out in the second half, but it was just too late.”
He insisted: “We have focused on defence a lot in the last two weeks and it was disappointing to turn up like that, conceding 30 points in the first half.
“We just can’t do that, we gave away too many penalties and missed a lot of tackles.
“It’s no one to blame, just all of us as a team. We didn’t react really well to the momentum change.
“We went bang, scored two tries and then lost the momentum and it was hard to get it back.”
Hurrell insists what is going wrong can be fixed up.
“It’s down to individual preparation and we just have to work hard,” he said.
“We know we have got the team to do it. It looks like we can attack, we just need to worry about our defence.
“We have been working on that, we’ve just got to stick to it and keep working.
“We can attack pretty good, we’ve just got to do more in defence.”
Rhinos hammered Salford Red Devils 46-14 less than three weeks ago and were 22-10 up at half-time against St Helens so Hurrell reckons they have proved they can be a force when they get things right.
He added: “We just need to do the ugly job first before we do the pretty job. We need a bit more mongrel in ourselves. I am not saying we need to play dirty, but we need a bit of aggression from number one to number 17.
“We can do the pretty stuff, we can attack from number one to number 17 and when we stick to our game plan our attack works, but winning games is not by attacking.
“Winning comes from a team that’s good at D [defence].
“In the NRL and Super League the winning team is the team that defends best. We have got to work on that. We can’t put our heads down, we have to start winning games.”
Rhinos, who are second from bottom in the table – above Huddersfield Giants on points difference – play host to promoted London Broncos this coming Friday.
Hurrell has received a caution from the Rugby Football League match review panel for dangerous contact in the game at Hull.
Cronulla Sharks prop Ava Seumanufagai, who had been linked with Rhinos, has opted to remain in the NRL.