Controlling the ruck holds the key to Leeds Rhinos’ hopes of having a good Friday.
Bottom of the table Rhinos face Huddersfield Giants at Emerald Headingley this afternoon looking to kick start their Betfred Super League campaign.
They will have to cope with a big, powerful pack who got Giants on the front foot in a 20-18 win over Castleford Tigers eight days ago – and Leeds hooker Brad Dwyer is relishing his personal battle with Kruise Leeming.
“He is playing really well,” Dwyer said of today’s rival.
“He has quite a bit of deception around the ruck and a big pack to play on the back of. It is important we control them so then we can do a job on Kruise. There’s a big focus on controlling that ruck.”
Dwyer made six appearances for Huddersfield on loan in 2013, the year Giants finished as league leaders.
“I spent some time with him then,” he recalled.
“I did a couple of months there and Kruise was just coming through. He is a good player, he has got a running game and quite a lot of deception and he can do minutes as well. He is still pretty young, but he has been good.”
Dwyer, who was rested last week when Rhinos crushed Workington Town 78-6 in the Coral Challenge Cup, has been an individual success in a poor team campaign so far.
“I am getting some confidence now,” he said.
“Dave [Furner, Rhinos’ coach] is showing quite a bit of belief in me and that seems to be working for me.
“But this is going to be tough, doing some minutes over Easter. It is something I am looking forward to and hopefully I can get a couple of consistent performances in and nail down this starting spot.”
Matt Parcell started at hooker last week while Dwyer watched from the stands.
The former Warrington man admitted: “I would probably rather have played, but I think with Easter coming up it will probably do me some good.
“I had a few niggles and it was a chance to try and let them rest up and be in as good shape as possible for this Easter period.”
After today Rhinos have just two clear days before an Easter Monday derby at Wakefield Trinity.
“It is a big time of the year for most teams,” Dwyer said.
“Especially the situation we are in now, we need to start getting some results on the board and this could be a perfect opportunity for us.
“We’ve got some confidence on the back of last week and hopefully we can get some decent results.”
Rhinos have yet to pick up back-to-back wins this year and Dwyer admitted: “We have shown some good signs, but we’ve also shown some very poor signs. It is about getting more consistent and playing some of the stuff we can do.
“Most teams we’ve played we have troubled them.
“Even the Hull KR game, we were awful at the start, but after that we threw some rugby at them and we tested them out. It’s just that yardage D [defence], slowing that ruck down. If we can get that right everything else will fall into place. If we can be composed and get some good ends to sets that will help us in our yardage D we will be in a good spot.”