Adam Cuthbertson: No time for dress rehearsals – Leeds simply must beat Widnes

Hull KR's James Greenwood and Chris Atkin, tackle Liam Sutcliffe, of Leeds Rhinos.
Hull KR's James Greenwood and Chris Atkin, tackle Liam Sutcliffe, of Leeds Rhinos.
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IT IS desperate times for Leeds Rhinos and I imagine fans are pretty nervous about Sunday and the next four games.

The middle-eights are a tough competition to be part of – especially when things aren’t going particularly well – and everyone’s aware of how important our game at Widnes is.

We could have taken a bit of pressure off if we had won last week against Hull KR, but we didn’t and we have to deal with the consequences of that.

Even so, I think if we can get through this season and still be in Super League – which I think we will – I am confident we will be better for it in the long-run.

Looking at Sunday’s match at Widnes, it is a win at all costs game.

Last weekend we just weren’t consistent enough in certain areas and that cost us a game we thought we should have won.

I wasn’t around the boys earlier in the week, because I’ve been a bit sick (I’m better now though), but I know they were all disappointed for quite a few days after Saturday.

That’s gone now and all we can do is learn from it and be better next time out.

You always try to take positives from any game and I thought we played some brilliant rugby at times, but we just weren’t consistent enough through the whole match.

We had very good spells and put a lot of points on, but didn’t maintain it and kept letting them back into the game.

Obviously our defence has to be better because conceding 38 points at home isn’t good enough.

That’s down to errors and lapses of concentration and on Sunday we have to make sure we stay strong for a full set, rather than defending well for four or five tackles and then clocking off. I know it is what happens on a match day that counts, but we are doing a lot of good things in training.

It is just about putting it together in games and playing well for the full 80.

That’s going to happen soon and when it does we will be a tough team to beat.

We definitely all know what the situation is and if we don’t get the result at Widnes on Sunday we will be fighting for our lives. Salford are in great form and we are second to them in the table, but there’s a lot of teams on the same number of points and not much between the sides on for and against either.

Toronto and Toulouse have both picked up a couple of wins and it is going to be very tight in terms of who goes into the million pound game.

The big things is, we are in control of our own destiny so we know if we get our game together we’ll be all right.

Widnes are doing it tough, but they’ll be looking at us as the team to turn their season around and keep them alive.

In my four seasons here I have played in some great Leeds teams alongside great players, but I’ve only been on the winning side at Widnes once and that was in the Challenge Cup a few months ago.

I’m not sure what it is, but Widnes obviously enjoy playing against us, especially on their pitch.

We know we are going to play a team who have their backs against the wall, they don’t have a lot to lose and that is going to make them more dangerous.

It is a worst-case scenario, but what a great challenge for us.

That is the way I am looking at it and I think if and when we get a result this weekend it’ll give us something positive to build on going into the final three games and next year.

Just surviving is our priority now, but I think if we can get through this season we will be better for it further down the line.

That’s what happened in 2016 and 2017 when we went from the middle-eights one year to winning the comp’ the next.

I am not saying that will happen again, but you have to be positive. It is all about mindset.

Two years ago we went into the Qualifiers and we were able to try a few things and work on areas of our game to take into pre-season and it paid off for us.

We had the mindset that the adversity we were going through would make us stronger and that’s what happened.

Life goes on and I’ll finish by congratulating our captain Kallum Watkins and his wife Sophie on the birth of their baby boy this week. I know Kallum’s family lift his spirits and I wish them all the best.