Desperate situation for Leeds Rhinos - but players are keeping calm

SOME SLEEPLESS nights lie ahead for everybody connected with Leeds Rhinos, but front-rower Brad Singleton insists all the players can focus on is getting their game right.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 6:00 pm
Leeds Rhinos' Brad Singleton runs at Hull's Sika Manu and Jake Connor. (Picture: Tony Johnson)
Leeds Rhinos' Brad Singleton runs at Hull's Sika Manu and Jake Connor. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

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READ MORE - Missed opportunities cost Rhinos

Last weekend’s 26-24 loss to Hull left Rhinos 10th in Betfred Super League with six games remaining and only points difference separates them from Hull KR and bottom club London Broncos.

Leeds Rhinos' Harry Newman. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

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It is a desperate situation and relegation to the Championship remains a very real possibility for the eight-time Grand Final winners, but according to Singleton: “We can’t look at the table.”

He predicted: “There’s going to be more twists and turns. It’s just, for us, about getting our game right. We need to be around 80-85 per cent ball retention then we can see how good we can be.”

Rhinos trailed 12-0 at the end of the first quarter against Hull, but halved that deficit before the break. The visitors added eight more points early in the second half before Rhinos hit their stride with three converted tries to take a 24-20 lead with 12 minutes left.

That should have been enough to secure a precious win, but the restart following their fourth try was dropped and that led to Hull’s match-winning touchdown.

Leeds Rhinos' Brad Dwyer. against Hull (Picture: Tony Johnson)

Singleton admitted: “Again, we gave ourselves too much to do. Errors slipped back in there. I don’t know if it’s a bit of anxiety, but to bring it back and be leading towards the back end is all credit to us. Hull are a top-four side, if not top-three and they could potentially go on to win the Challenge Cup.

“They are a good side and we could probably cop a two-point defeat to them if we were sat comfortably at the top of the table, but we’re not and we can’t cop it at all.

“I don’t like losing and in patches we were probably seven or eight out of 10, but in patches we were five or four with the ball retention.

“It is a shame how sometimes the ball retention spoils how good we can be.”

With no game until a ‘four-pointer’ at eighth-placed Huddersfield Giants on Friday, August 2, Rhinos have an opportunity to work on cutting costly errors out of their game.

“I am hoping in this next block of fixtures we can look after the ball and show people how good we are,” Singleton vowed.

“We have got to embrace how good we can be and stretch out those patches (of good play) for full halves of a game and get our backs into space and let our forwards do what we can do.

“But, at the minute, I think what’s hindering us is just errors and penalties.”

Singleton felt Leeds should have been good enough to hold on after going four points ahead, but admitted a lack of confidence could have been an issue.

“The games are going to get bigger and bigger,” he warned. “We need to grab hold of that and control that.

“To be honest, I don’t feel Hull broke us down too much, their tries were from kicks or out wide where maybe it’s a missed tackle that proved costly. They didn’t run away with it, but, to get it right, our start needs to be better as well as our ball retention. As a team, we can’t defend that many sets back to back to back.

“We had to wait for that second wind to kick in to get our momentum back. Sometimes, especially against a good side, it’s too much.”

Rhinos’ defence has improved from earlier in the year and that gives Singleton confidence they can pick up the necessary wins once they control the ball better. “We didn’t get bullied at all,” he said of the Hull game.

“We have the potential to be a great side, it’s just the belief. Rich Agar (interim-coach) has brought loads to us, but we just need some actions on the field from individuals. There’s things we need to get better at, obviously, but Hull didn’t break us down so we’ve got to take positives from that.”