Leeds Rhinos walking tall again for Super League trip to Hull KR

IT WILL be a newly-confident Leeds Rhinos team who take to the field at Hull KR tonight, according to full-back Jack Walker.

Thursday, 4th April 2019, 6:10 am
In-form full-back Jack Walker. PIC: James Hardisty

Rhinos remain bottom of the table, but a second successive win this evening would lift them at least two places and be a huge boost to their hopes of getting out of the relegation dogfight. Last week’s extra-time conquering of Castleford Tigers was only Leeds’ second victory of the year, but Walker reckons there are clear signs of progress and another success this evening could be a game changer.

The priority for Rhinos will be to maintain the form they showed for most of last week’s game, but eliminate the lapses which allowed Tigers to hit back from 20-4 with 20 minutes left.

“Obviously we had a few tough games at the start of the season and it is not going to get any easier, but things are going to take time,” said Walker who was a Grand Final winner in his debut season two years ago.

Hull KR threat - former Leeds Rhinos star, Danny McGuire. PIC: Ash Allen/SWpix.com

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“We have got a bit of confidence from the Cas game and we’ll take that into Hull KR and hopefully we’ll get ourselves on the right path.

“I feel like we played so much better last week. There’s just that 10-minute period we need to fix up where they just rolled us and got a fair few tries, but if we fix that up I think we’ll be a really good side.”

Rovers have picked up one more win than Leeds to sit two places higher in the table.

They have been rocked by injuries this year, but are beginning to get players back with ex-Rhinos duo Danny McGuire and Robbie Mulhern both set to return tonight. Walker said: “I’ve never played there before.

Leeds Rhinos head coach, Dave Furner. PIC: Gerard Binks/JPIMedia

“They have got some quality players, like Danny McGuire, but if we play like we did against Cas and cut that 10-minute period out I don’t see why we can’t go there and beat them.

“We just need to get our game plan right. If we keep playing our game we’ll pick up these two points and hopefully work our way back up the table.”

Walker’s performances at full-back have been a shining light for Rhinos during their dismal start to the campaign.

The 19-year-old was impressive again last week against Tigers, but insisted he is more concerned about how the team are playing.

“I am doing my job at the moment and that’s all I can do,” he said.

“Hopefully things will fit together with the team and we can get some wins.”

Walker’s form was recognised last week when he was named in the England Knights performance squad.

He toured Papua New Guinea with the Knights last year, but admitted: “The main aim for me was keeping my spot.

“I didn’t play that well over in PNG so I just wanted to play well again this year and hopefully get back in the side.”

Meanwhile, boss Dave Furner has stressed Rhinos can’t afford to get carried away with themselves despite last week’s morale-boosting result.

“It’s a win that was coming and it was good the way it finished,” he said.

“The two previous weeks we put ourselves in a position to win the game and didn’t close it off so that’s the pleasing thing.

“At 20-4 we were in a dominant position and we allowed Cas back into it. Credit to them, they scored some points, but it’s something we have talked about as a group – we should close those off.

“It was a good feeling and a relief, but we have got to dump that game and look at the fact at 20-4 we should have closed that game off.”