Leeds Rhinos: Stevie Ward takes a defiant stance after loss to Cas

Stevie Ward.Stevie Ward.
Stevie Ward.
FORWARD STEVIE Ward is adamant Leeds Rhinos' season is still alive, despite their poor recent results.

Rhinos remain sixth in Betfred Super League following their 38-10 defeat by Castleford Tigers at the Dacia Magic Weekend, but are now three points behind fourth-placed Hull, with a game in hand.

Castleford are also three points above Leeds, in fifth and travel to lowly Hull KR for their game in hand later this month.

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Rhinos’ run of just three wins from their last nine league matches has left them facing an uphill struggle to be in the top four when the competition splits into Super-8s and Qualifiers after 23 rounds.

Liam Sutcliffe.Liam Sutcliffe.
Liam Sutcliffe.

The leading quartet will play four home fixtures and three away in the Super-8s, making them favourites for the play-offs at the end of the season.

But Ward insisted he remains confident Rhinos can climb the table and feature in the semi-finals, if individuals get their own house in order.

“There’s a long way to go,” he said.

“I don’t feel like it [the season] is slipping away.

“There’s some things we need to do individually.

“We have to look at ourselves really, we have to look at our own performance.

“We have still got a lot left in the tank.”

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Ward accepted that last Saturday was a bad day at the office.

Leeds were 28-0 down before scoring their first points and he reflected; “We made a really flat start.

“We know we need to start well against Cas, but it was like a replay of the game at Elland Road.

“You can’t do that twice in succession. We let ourselves down there.”

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Injuries have played a part in Rhinos’ season. Against Castleford they were without Liam Sutcliffe, Brad Singleton, Carl Ablett and Mitch Garbutt, plus the suspended Anthony Mullally.

And Jack Walker, Kallum Watkins, Matt Parcell and Nathaniel Peteru were hurt during the game.

But Ward stressed that is part and parcel of the sport and he warned: “We have got to perform as a squad.

“We have got to be professional and go out there and play the way we can, but [against Castleford] we didn’t do it.”

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After injury problems earlier in the season, Ward has played in Leeds’ last eight games.

“It’s nice to be playing, but it’d be nicer to be playing better as well,” he said.

“Individually, in our roles, we just aren’t doing it to the nth-degree and to our best. Playing against a team like Cas you have to be on your game and clinical and I think a lot of players went away from what we need to do.”

But he said there will be “no soul-searching” ahead of Saturday’s game at Catalans Dragons.

“It’s not as if we don’t know the answers,” he added.

“We do know the answers, it’s just about executing them and having the ability to do that.

“Catalans away is always a big test.

“They are a tough side to play, but sometimes we need that.”