Leeds Rhinos winger Tom Briscoe says 80-minute performance is priority for Super League clash with Salford Red Devils
Being half-decent isn’t good enough.
Winger Tom Briscoe admits Leeds Rhinos have to start playing for 80 minutes or see their play-offs hopes fade away.
The statistics from Rhinos’ last two defeats, both against Catalans Dragons, tell their own story.
They were unable to hold on to an 18-8 half-time lead in the home clash and 18-2 up midway through the return match four days ago.
From a strong position, Leeds failed to score in the second half of either game, conceding 18 and 25 points.
In the fixture before the Catalans series, Leeds led Warrington Wolves 20-6 at half-time and just managed to hang on in the final 40, winning 22-16.
Briscoe stressed getting to grips with what is going wrong will be a priority this week, ahead of Friday’s visit of improving Salford Red Devils.
“I am not sure what’s happening really,” Briscoe said.
“Two weeks on the bounce it has been the same story.
“To play so well in the first half [last Friday] and then come out in the second half and concede 25 points, it was gutting and something we need to fix up pretty sharpish.”
Rhinos played some outstanding rugby in the opening period of both games against Catalans, scoring three tries each time.
They conceded only a penalty goal before the break in the away match and Briscoe - who bagged a double and made a superb try-saving tackle - added: “The first half both weeks has been superb.
“That is the frustrating thing, that we can play that well and then to back up in the second half the way we are, it’s not good enough.”
Eleven players were unavailable for the game in France, including three ruled out after being pinged on test and trace.
Forwards Rhyse Martin, who served a one-game ban and King Vuniyayawa, unable to travel because of visa issues, will both be available for Friday’s visit of Salford, who have won successive games since being beaten 38-12 by Leeds at the end of last month.
But Briscoe stressed the number and quality of players missing in Perpignan was “not an excuse”.
He pointed out: “The way we are playing in the first half shows it’s not to do with who’s not in the team.
“It’s hard to put your finger on, but if we have got any aspirations of getting into the top-six we have got to sort it out.”
Rhinos, sitting seventh in the table, are now into the second half of their league campaign, with a win percentage of 46.15.
The last two defeats have undone some of the progress made during their previous four-match winning streak and Briscoe said the team are aware they can’t afford many more slip-ups.
Qualification for the play-offs was the least Rhinos expected from this year, but Briscoe conceded: “Sixth spot is getting further away.”
He stressed: “We need to get our heads down and find out the reasons why it’s happening in the second half and what we can do to change things up and make sure our second half performances match our first half.
“We have got the confidence in the team we can challenge anyone and we showed that throughout the first half in both games.
“But to come out in the second half and concede how we did and to allow their big men to get a roll on, it’s not good enough."
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