BRINGING THE glory days back to Leeds Rhinos is a tougher task than marquee signing Trent Merrin thought, but he insists he accepts the challenge.
Rhinos hit a new low three days ago when they were knocked out of the Coral Challenge Cup by Betfred Championship side Bradford Bulls.
The eight-time Super League champions are 10th in the table and enduring their third relegation battle in four seasons since the treble triumph of 2015.
It is not what Merrin thought he was in for when he agreed to join Leeds from Penrith Panthers on a four-year contract last autumn, but he pledged he will roll up his sleeves and get stuck in.
Reflecting on the current situation, the 29-year-old Australian forward said: “We have lost a lot of great players at this club, who have moved on and retired and left a void there.
“I have come here to do a job; obviously it is a harder job than I expected and I will take that as a challenge.
I have come here to do a job; obviously it is a harder job than I expected and I will take that as a challenge.Trent Merrin
“I am excited for it.
“I know I am better leading by my actions, not my words; I know what I need to do.
“It is great to have these young players around us because they feed off that.
“I will be keeping my chin up and ticking my boxes and hopefully these young boys can see that and can lead the way too.”
Thursday’s visit of Castleford Tigers will mark the start of the second half of the league season and, with only four wins so far, Rhinos are desperate for points.
Merrin, though, said he is “100 per cent” confident they will turn things around.
“I looked this [yesterday] morning and we have still got about 15 games of the season left,” he added.
“That’s a massive chunk of the season to take on. The Challenge Cup is out of our hands, that’s put to bed, so our main focus now is climbing back up that ladder and doing the best we can in the Super League competition.
“It starts with us – we’ve just got to regroup, not look behind us and start to put some things in place for what’s ahead of us.
“We are doing that collectively. It’s not going to be easy, there’s going to be a lot of hard days, hard work and honest conversations and we will start to see some results coming our way.”
Merrin admitted the onus is on senior players to drag Rhinos out of their current plight.
“It’s up to us as leaders in the team to lead the way in how to hold ourselves through this tough period,” he said.
“I have been through years like this at different clubs. On and off the field you go through tough times and you’ve just got to chip away, make sure you are individually prepared to take on the battle and help players around you to prepare the same way.
“It’s the easy option to just cop it on the chin and say this is the way it’s going to be, but it is a very proud club, we’ve got proud fans and a lot of propud players in this team.
“We have to stand up to this challenge now. We’ve seen what rock bottom was, which was the weekend, and now we really have to stand up and challenge our character.”