Leeds Rhinos: We’ll learn the lessons from Warrington setback, insists Trent Merrin

AUSTRALIAN RECRUIT Trent Merrin has described Leeds Rhinos’ round one disappointment as a “lesson learned”.

Tuesday, 5th February 2019, 5:00 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:31 pm
Warrington's Mike Cooper is tackled by Leeds Rhinos' Trent Merrin and Liam Sutcliffe.

New-look Rhinos were overpowered 26-6 at Warrington Wolves in their opening Betfred Super League fixture, when Merrin made his competitive debut.

It was a poor performance from Leeds, particularly in the first half when they went 20-0 behind and Merrin admitted: “Obviously you prepare as hard as you can, but if you come out and give a team like that all the possession and defend the way we did, you are always going to have a tough night at the office.

“It is a lesson learned there, it is a long season so we’ll just build off that.”

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Leeds Rhinos head coach Dave Furner.

Rhinos were more competitive in the second half, when both teams scored one converted try. Merrin insisted they will take some confidence from that into Friday’s game at Wigan Warriors, but stressed Leeds can’t afford to be chasing games against top-quality teams.

“We have got some depth there, we can put some structure together and do it, but you have got to do the tough stuff first,” he said.

“We’ve learned a lesson, we know what not to do now.

“We’ll take that on board and get ready for Friday.”

Trent Merrin.

Merrin was one of four debutants in Rhinos’ team and with them still adjusting to new coach Dave Furner’s way of doing things he believes patience will be needed.

“It is a long season and we’ve got a few new blokes in the team who are still getting used to each other,” he pointed out.

“I thought we started pretty well, but I think this early in the season you can’t give teams too many penalties.

“If they have that much possession and you haven’t got that match fitness behind you yet, it is too hard to stay in that arm wrestle when you’ve giving them all the ball.”

Leeds had chances early and late in the game and Merrin reckons they did show flashes of what they are capable of.

“We know the footy’s there,” he added. “It is just about being consistent with it and staying patient and building pressure.

“Warrington were on fire, you could tell they have played together for a few years and they know how each other works.

“It is something we can learn from, from a team like that.”

It isn’t getting any easier for Rhinos who visit the defending champions in three days’ time for the second of four successive away games. “Every week’s a tough game and you’ve always got to go prepared,” Merrin warned. “They are a tough squad and they’ll have seen our game [on Saturday] but we will get ready for that and see how we go.”

Super League got off to a blistering start with wins for St Helens, Castleford Tigers, Salford Red Devils, Hull KR and promoted London Broncos – as well as Warrington – and crowds were healthy despite freezing conditions. Of his first taste of competitive action in England, Merrin observed: “I think the quality was definitely up there, the speed was up there.

“If anything I am excited for the next game and I’ll just look forward.”

Meanwhile, two Warrington players have picked up bans from incidents in last weekend’s game. Ben Westwood received a two-match penalty notice for grade C dangerous contact with Leeds’ Konrad Hurrell and Toby King one game following a grade B dangerous throw on Stevie Ward for which he was sin-binned.