THE RACE for places in the top-four at the end of the regular Betfred Super League season is hotting up and Leeds Rhinos full-back Ashton Golding admits that makes this week’s trip to Hull a massive game.
Rhinos have dropped to fifth in the table, one place and a single point above Hull, following last Friday’s agonising 9-8 home loss to Wigan.
The top-four after 23 rounds secure four home games in the Super-8s, with teams from fifth to eighth playing three at home and four away.
Though Leeds beat the East Yorkshire side 20-16 at Emerald Headingley last month and are unbeaten in five visits to KCOM Stadium, Hull are in good form and growing in confidence.
Golding warned: “It is always a tough place to go, but hopefully we can do a decent job there. We haven’t got a bad record there and they are on fire at the moment so it’ll be a good game.”
The key for Rhinos, Golding insists, is to put last Friday’s defeat behind them, but also make sure they learn from it – particularly when they are leading late on in tight games.
We haven’t got a bad record there and they are on fire at the moment so it’ll be a good game.Leeds Rhinos’ Ashton Golding
Leeds have been involved in a series of close matches this season and almost let an eight-point lead slip in the final moments at Wakefield Trinity in their previous game.
Golding said: “One week you win by two and the next you lose by one.
“It was an awful feeling, hard to put into words, but we will review it and go again. It’s disappointing, but it is a learning curve. In rugby league you never lose, you learn.
“Let’s learn from this. We have to review it and we can’t forget about it.”
He added: “For 60 minutes we were great and we have got to look at that and find the positives, but for 20 minutes we were one dimensional and they took advantage of that.
“We will learn from it. You can’t be playing against a top side like Wigan and slack off for the last 20 minutes because they will pounce – and they really did that.”
Rhinos will also need to be better at turning pressure into points this week, Golding reckons. They led 6-0 at half-time against Wigan and were 8-0 ahead going into the final 10 minutes, but the visitors – after being under the cosh for long spells – rallied with a converted try, penalty and drop goal.
“For any team to be on top of 60 minutes and only score eight points, it’s going to take its toll, knowing if they get one try they are right back in it,” Golding reflected.
“They did and they obviously felt the momentum swinging their way, having withstood so much pressure for us. Credit to them, they are a well drilled team and they stuck in there all the way to the end and got the win.”
Rhinos failed to score when Wigan’s Sam Powell was sin-binned early in the second half of last Friday’s game for a dangerous tackle on Golding. Golding admitted his back was sore after the game, but said he is confident he will be fully fit for Thursday’s match.