Champions have ‘turned the corner’ says Leeds Rhinos’ Brad Singleton

Brad Singleton.
Brad Singleton.
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PROP BRAD Singleton reckons Leeds Rhinos have turned a corner.

Rhinos will go into tonight’s huge Qualifiers clash with Salford Red Devils on the back of a tense 16-6 win at Widnes Vikings five days ago.

The reigning champions will be almost certain of a place in Betfred Super League next season if they win tonight, but defeat would leave them in danger of being dragged into the Million Pound Game.

“It has been the same scenario every week, this is a must-win,” Singleton said.

“I think we owe it because the last time out against Salford was a dreadful game. Defensively, what we did at Widnes was the best we’ve played. Just seeing the hunger in the lads and the work rate and the way we defended back-to-back sets, I don’t think we’ve done that this year. That was a massive step forward.”

There have been false dawns before this year, but Singleton senses a new mood in the camp.

“We have got to back it up, but I think with the way we defended last week the foundations are there,” he added. “Defence wins games, then attack will come.

“Widnes were on, I know people will say they’ve not been playing well, but that’s the best I’ve seen them play.

“It was an intense game and to go into this week with that behind us is great.”

Two more wins from their final three matches will take Rhinos to their target of 10 points, but Singleton said: “We are taking it game by game, they are all must-wins.

Joel Moon fends off Widnes' Joe Lyons.

Joel Moon fends off Widnes' Joe Lyons.

“We are Leeds Rhinos, last year we won the league.

“It’s not a case of we need one win or two wins and we scrape safety, we need to be winning every game.

“We will just look at this week and then keep ticking off two points, hopefully.”

Salford are the only unbeaten team in the Qualifiers and thrashed Rhinos 38-22 at the end of July.

Defensively, what we did at Widnes was the best we’ve played. Just seeing the hunger in the lads and the work rate and the way we defended back-to-back sets,

Brad Singleton

Half-back Jackson Hastings, who has inspired their five-game winning run, is suspended, but Singleton warned: “I don’t think it is down to individuals.

“We are ready for the best of Salford. They have got the bit between their teeth which is what you need for the middle-eights.”

He added: “I think we had it last time we were in the Qualifiers, we felt like we were going to win every game.

“We are going to be playing the best of them and hopefully we can defuse that.”

Rhinos lost 38-36 to Hull KR in their previous home game and have won only four of their 11 fixtures at Emerald Headingley this year.

Singleton said they are desperate to put on a good performance on home turf and he stressed: “I think this place needs it.

“The infrastructure here needs the rugby to reflect that and this year it hasn’t done so.

“It was great to get that win last week, we are excited and the lads are looking forward to playing again.”