Leeds Rhinos: Tom Briscoe is targeting top spot in Qualifiers
THEY ARE still in a relegation dogfight, but winger Tom Briscoe says Leeds Rhinos are looking up rather than down.
Rhinos are second in the Betfred Qualifiers table, two points behind Friday’s visitors Salford Red Devils, level with Hull KR and two ahead of Championship sides Toronto Wolfpack, London Broncos and Toulouse Olympique.
Last weekend’s 16-6 win at Widnes Vikings boosted Rhinos’ hopes of staying in Super League, but safety is not yet confirmed.
If they lose on Friday, either Toronto or Toulouse, who meet in Canada on Saturday, will draw level on points with Leeds with only two rounds remaining.
Being dragged into the million pound game remains a possibility, but Briscoe insisted survival is not the only aim.
“We still want to finish top of the Qualifiers,” he stressed.
“Every game is important and a must-win game to go into next season on a good note.”
Last weekend’s nervy 16-6 success at Widnes Vikings was a step in the right direction, according to Briscoe.
He reflected: “To grind out a win in the fashion we did was good for us.
“It was a tough, close game. In the past we’ve gone on and lost those so it was pleasing to get the win and defensively we went well. The past two or three months we’ve really struggled in those situations to see out games.
“It has cost us [a place in] the Super-8s this year so it was pleasing to finally win one of those and it has come at a good time with Salford coming up on Friday.”
Salford, the only unbeaten team in the middle-eights, won 38-22 when the teams met at AJ Bell Stadium in Super League at the end of July.
“It was not the best game from us or best performance,” recalled Briscoe.
“We want to put that right.
“We are building at the minute and hopefully we can carry on building into the game this week.”
Which division Rhinos will be playing in next year is not yet confirmed, but their backroom staff has been with David Furner named as incoming head coach.
Briscoe admitted: “It is good to know what’s happening, it stops the worry of what’s going to happen or when.
“To have that announcement was nice, it puts a bit of stability within the club and it’s something to look forward coming into next season, for the fans as well.
“Hopefully he will be here for the start of pre-season and we get a full pre-season to build into the start of Super League next year.”
On a personal level Briscoe has been a shining light in Rhinos’ gloom this year scoring 15 tries in 30 appearances.
“I think I have been a bit more consistent than previous years,” he reflected.
“I am pleased to be doing that and to have avoided any serious injuries as well so this season has gone well for me.”