Defiant Stevie Ward expecting Leeds Rhinos to go on offensive against St Helens

Stevie Ward. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
Stevie Ward. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
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IF WE fix up our attack we can beat anyone.

That’s forward Stevie Ward’s defiant message as Leeds Rhinos look to get back to winning ways against St Helens at Headingley tonight.

Rhinos are on the back of an error-ridden 23-12 loss to Castleford Tigers six days ago and Ward admitted they failed to handle the pressure of an intense game against a high-quality side.

With Wakefield Trinity breathing down their necks, Rhinos can’t afford a repeat if they are to hang on to a top-four spot in Betfred Super League.

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Ward reckons Leeds’ defence is strong enough to handle anything Saints throw at them and he said the focus is on being better with the ball.

“We left ourselves down offensively last week,” Ward said.

“It was a high-pressure game and we came up with a lot of errors.

“There’s a big thing to work on there and it’s not eluding us – we know what we need to work on.

“On one note that’s positive, because we know what we need to do.”

But Ward reckons if Rhinos can defend as well as they did last week, they will give themselves a chance.

“Our defence was fantastic,” he said. “We didn’t come into training on Monday wondering what went wrong, we made that many errors and gave Cas so much ball I think we did well to keep it so close.

“It wasn’t great that we were losing that much ball and giving them so much possession, but on the other hand we can defend all day. I am happy to be lining up with the boys and knowing we can go out and defend for each other, but offensively we need to improve.

“We were making mistakes in yardage, in our own 20-metre area. Cas are such a great attacking team and they are so in unison with each other, but we handled the shifts and what they threw at us.

“But because of the pressure of how much defending we had to do they ended up scoring. We know we need to fix that up and we will.”

Saints have scored fewer points than any other team in the top-eight, but Ward reckons they are starting to hit form at the right time.

They have won four of their six games since Justin Holbrook took over as coach last month and Ward warned: “They have got some very skilful players.

“They can really threaten you, all over the field. They have got such good players when they are returning the ball as well, so we need to be switched on and we need to be clinical with the ball.

“We have got to work our way away from our own area a lot better.”

It will take a big effort to back up from last Friday’s tough game.

Ward needed stitches in a cut around an eye, but insisted: “I am all right. It’s all part of the job, I will be fine for the game.

“It was a tough game, really intense, against Cas and a few boys came in a bit more sore than usual.”

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