Leeds Rhinos v St Helens: Busiest time of season holds no fears for Burrow
THE EASTER fixture pile-up is ideal for off-colour Leeds Rhinos, acting-captain Rob Burrow claims.
Tonight’s visit of St Helens is the first of four games in 15 days for Rhinos, who also visit Castleford Tigers next Thursday, play host to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats on Easter Monday and are at home to Hull KR two weeks today.
Rhinos are low on form, but Burrow sees the busiest part of the season as an ideal opportunity to put things right.
“Easter’s always a busy schedule every year, but for us it has come at a good time, to get some wins and some performances hopefully,” he stated.
“We can get some continuity going and keep rolling and get some bodies back, get some flow in the team and get some points.”
Tonight’s game is crucial for Rhinos, who are already six points behind fourth-placed Saints.
There is still a long way to go, but defeat would be a huge blow to Leeds’ semi-final hopes and Burrow admitted they need to start a revival soon.
“You don’t want to get cut adrift,” he admitted. “We’ve lost more than our fair share already and we need to address things immediately and that starts for us against St Helens in another huge game.”
The defending champions will require a major improvement from last week’s 28-6 defeat at Wigan Warriors.
That was their fifth loss in six competitive games this term and left them third from bottom in First Utility Super League.
“It was just one of those nights where nothing seemed to go right for us,” Burrow reflected.
“You want to play well against a team like Wigan because they’re always big games and it’s a big rivalry for us.
“It’s disappointing to lose to Wigan on any occasion, but to do so having played nothing near our best is really frustrating for us.
“I don’t think Wigan were great, but they were way too good for us on the night – and that’s not good enough.”
That setback came a week after Rhinos had got off the mark with a tense four-point victory over fellow strugglers Huddersfield Giants.
“The Huddersfield win wasn’t great, but it was all about getting the two points, so we took a bit of a backward step,” Burrow added.
“We’ve got to address it. We keep saying it’s time to put things right, but it’s time to stop talking and deliver with our actions on the pitch.”
Rhinos beat Saints four times last year – from five meetings – and Burrow, who will step down from the captaincy if Danny McGuire returns from injury tonight, reckons the rivalry could bring the best out of Leeds.
“There’s no better place to come and play than Headingley and the games with St Helens are usually great here,” he said.
“We need no incentive to perform anyway, but against Saints at Headingley is a fantastic prospect – if that doesn’t give us motivation, nothing will.
“We need to be at our best because they’ve got quality all over the park.
“We’re disappointed we didn’t show the real us against Wigan, but we’ve a chance to correct that quickly this weekend against another really good side.
“We’ve got to address it as a group. Everyone’s putting their hand up and we’re all determined to improve.
“We haven’t had some players in recent weeks, but I feel the squad is still good enough to be winning games.
“The fact those guys are coming back now can only be a positive.”