Leeds Rhinos v Castleford Tigers: Momentum will be crucial in derby clash insists Brad Dwyer
LEEDS RHINOS’ pack go into today’s derby against Castleford Tigers knowing the result depends on them grabbing the momentum, hooker Brad Dwyer says.
Rhinos are missing some key players in the backs, but close to full-strength up front and Dwyer reckons if Leeds are a match for anybody if their forwards play well.
Zane Tetevano is set to make his second appearance for Rhinos and there were signs in last week’s win over Wakefield Trinity he will prove hard for rival defences to handle.
“It’s a great pack and really exciting to play with,” Dwyer – who will make his 200th career appearance in today’s game at St Helens – said of Leeds’ forward power. “The way the game’s going with the new rules, momentum is massive.
“If we’ve got a big pack and we can control the momentum of the game, that’ll be great for us. Hopefully we can do that, but if you lose momentum it’s difficult, no matter who’s in your pack.
“We’ve just got to dominate that ruck speed and be clean with our discipline like we were last weekend and hopefully that gives us a good chance with the pack we’ve got this year.”
Rhinos’ policy is to start with Kruise Leeming at hooker and then bring Dwyer off the bench.
Leeds’ two hookers will today be up against Man of Steel Paul McShane, a Rhinos academy product who has flourished under coach Daryl Powell at Castleford.
“I don’t really think of it like that [an individual battle,” Dwyer said. “He is a great player, but I am just focusing on myself and trying to get a good performance.”
Dwyer was at the heart of Rhinos’ fightback to win last week after they had trailed 16-4 and he reflected: “I was pleased with how I played.
“Whether it’s coming on after 25 minutes, starting, or doing the last 25, I just try and turn up and do whatever’s asked of me.
“I was pleased with last weekend and it was a good way to start the year.
“There’s still plenty to improve on, but for the first week I was pretty happy and hopefully I can back it up this week.”
After four months between games and 12 weeks of pre-season Dwyer admitted it is “good to be back in the swing of things, with a purpose at the end of the week”.
And he insisted facing today’s opposition is always special.
“It doesn’t get much bigger than Cas,” said the hooker who kicked a golden point drop goal to end Rhinos’ long regular-season losing streak against Tigers two years ago.
“They were decent last weekend, but it doesn’t matter what form they are in, they always turn up and play against us.
“We will be expecting the best version of Cas, but we’ll just focus on ourselves and if we play well we’ll be in good shape.”
Both teams got off to a winning start, with Rhinos beating Wakefield 28-22 last Sunday and Tigers seeing off Warrington Wolves 21-12 the following afternoon.
Dwyer said: “In the first game of the year the win’s the most important thing.
“I think we all expected there’d be a few things to fix up, that’s just the nature of it.
“I think the things we do need to fix up are pretty simple, a few individuals might have been a bit rusty, but we’ll fix that pretty quickly.“We are a good team for that; things we highlight, we can fix them up pretty quick.
“Certainly I thought our middle was great and our intent in defence.
“There’s a few things on our right edge, but the boys will fix that up and hopefully we’ll back our performance up in the middle as well.”
Rhinos will pay to play in today’s game which is part of Super League’s Mose Masoe round, raising funds for the former Hull KR player whose career was ended by an injury in a pre-season game at Wakefield Trinity last year.
Fans are being urged to buy ‘virtual tickets’ for this weekend’s matches and Rhinos’ players and coaching staff will each donate £20 to the fund.
Rhinos captain Luke Gale said: “Everyone in the game has been touched by Mose’s story over the last year and he has been an inspirational figure.
“We saw first hand at the start of last year how the whole game came together to support one of our own in Rob Burrow and I know this will be no different for Mose.
“When we spoke about it as a group, all the players and staff were on board straight away and I hope Leeds fans can join in to raise as much money as possible to support Mose and his young family.”
Text 70085 and 5MOSE to donate £5, 10MOSE for £10, 15MOSE for £15 and 20MOSE to donate £20.
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