IT IS now nine games without a win in Betfred Super League, but Stevie Ward reckons Leeds Rhinos are improving.
For the third time in their last five matches Rhinos let a late lead slip when they drew 20-20 with Wakefield Trinity.
Trinity scored eight points in the final 10 minutes and were close to landing a winning drop goal in a frantic finale.
It was a disappointing result for Leeds which left their top-eight hopes hanging by a threat, but looking at the bigger picture Ward insisted: “There are positive signs.”
New director of rugby Kevin Sinfield and first-team coach James Lowes have been in charge for two games, and Ward said: “I think we were a different team compared to last week.
“There was a real intensity to work for each other in defence and we were solid a lot of times in that game.
It’s one step at a time, but it is swinging for us. There’s little improvements we are making, on the field and off it as well.Stevie Ward
“It’s one step at a time, but it is swinging for us.
“There’s little improvements we are making, on the field and off it as well.”
Rhinos’ final games of the regular season are against Super League’s bottom two, Widnes Vikings at home on Friday and away to Salford Red Devils a week later.
If Huddersfield Giants, Catalans Dragons and Wakefield don’t all win this weekend, two victories could secure a place in the Super-8s.
It is out of Rhinos’ hands and Ward said: “We just have to go out and enjoy our rugby, play for each other, know what works and dig in.
“We can’t be thinking about other results. We need to win every game we play.
“We have got some important ones coming up, including a Challenge Cup semi-final.
“We are building each week. There’s going to be some moments which are tough and some when we all pull together and reap some rewards.
“There’s plenty to play for. We do it tough at Leeds, but I don’t think we’d want it any other way.
“That’s why people are here, to challenge themselves. We dropped a point, but some of the things we saw [last Friday] were really good to see.”
Ward was made captain by previous coach Brian McDermott after Kallum Watkins suffered a season-ending injury two months ago.
Adam Cuthbertson has also skippered the side, when Ward was sidelined by concussion, but Sinfield appointed Carl Ablett to the role against Wakefield.
All four are in a new leadership group, along with Brad Singleton, and Ward stressed: “It makes sense.
“Kev’s come in and decided to share it [the captaincy] among the players. Everyone needs to take responsibility for where we are. I’m always about what’s best for the team.”