Jekyll and Hyde Leeds Rhinos need to make the most of this week’s long turnaround and finally find some consistency, forward Brett Ferres says.
Rhinos’ two-game winning run ended when they were hammered 32-16 at home by fellow strugglers Hull KR.
That came seven days after a magnificent defensive effort in an 18-10 victory at Castleford Tigers and Ferres admitted: “It was chalk and cheese.”
He said: “The effort areas – our D [defence] and the little areas people don’t see – were all there against Castleford, but Friday was completely different.
“There was probably a lack of honesty in that middle, we took short cuts in what we were doing and that’s the disappointing thing.”
Rhinos have slipped a place to 10th in Betfred Super League and face another huge game in five days’ time against visitors Hull.
If Leeds win and bottom club London Broncos lose at home to leaders St Helens, Rhinos will be four points clear of the bottom with six games to play, but Ferres stressed they have to fix up the issues behind last week’s poor result.
“It was a really bad start, the first 20 minutes killed us a bit,” Ferres reflected.
“We were really slow out of the blocks, there were loads of penalties and errors in that and we didn’t give ourselves a chance.
“We got ourselves back into it just before half-time, but it was a sloppy start again in the second half, we didn’t kick on and we were chasing the scoreline rather than grinding a few sets out and seeing where we got to.”
Leeds are still in control of their own destiny, but consistency is crucial.
“We’ve been better over the last couple of weeks and over the course of the last month,” Ferres added.
“Even when we weren’t getting results the performances have been better. [Last week] was certainly very disappointing and we’ve got to learn from it and get back on the horse this week. The pleasing thing is it is in our hands, but there was a big opportunity to put some daylight between us [and the bottom] and we’ve not taken that.
“We’ve got a long turnaround and it’s a really big week for us.”
Interim-coach Richard Agar went without a specialist prop on the bench against Hull KR so Ferres was used as a substitute in the middle. Ferres said: “Rich asked me to do a bit of a different role.
“Rhyse [Martin] has come in and he’s a back-rower as well, Rich said he wanted another big body in the middle – it was something a bit different, but it was all right. I am happy to do whatever role Rich requires me to do. I had a couple of nice touches in the middle and I think I went all right.
“I am not used to it; I would prefer to start games.
“But you have to get in there pretty quick and make a difference and I thought the bench were good. James Donaldson was good, Cam Smith came on and made an impact and it was nice to see Shaun Lunt back at the club doing what he does best.
“So, there were some pleasing signs and some decent performances in there, just not the consistency we required.”