Leeds Rhinos: Briscoe’s emotions put on back burner against Hull

Tom Briscoe.
Tom Briscoe.
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TOM BRISCOE is determined not to get caught up in the emotion of facing his former team for the first time when Leeds Rhinos take on Hull tonight.

The England winger starred for Hull from 2008 to last year, before joining Rhinos on a five-year deal and has had to wait until the halfway point of the season go come up against his previous club.

“I will treat it as I would any other game, but I think spending six years there, it is a bit different,” Briscoe admitted.

“Everything has changed since I left, but I have still got good friends there and it’ll be good to play against them.

“But there’s a lot of new faces as well, so it will be just like any other team for me.

“Missing out last week was disappointing, but if I can get back in this week I want to put in a good performance to make sure I stay in the team.”

With six players – Zak Hardaker, Ben Jones-Bishop, Kallum Watkins, Joel Moon, Ryan Hall and Briscoe – battling for five places in the team, one quality outside-back has been missing out each week.

It was Briscoe’s turn to be rested against Wigan Warriors six days ago, though Watkins was also sidelined due to illness.

It is unusual for backs to be rested and Briscoe said: “Talking to Ryan, he’s the same – he doesn’t really need the rest, but come the end of the season it will be good for us all to have had a few games off here and there.

“We will see the benefits come the end of the season. You have just got to accept it as one of those things that comes with being in this team and just get on with it.”

Competition for places does bring the best out in players, Briscoe believes. He added: “Having missed out last week I want to put in a good performance, if selected this week.

“I want to show I didn’t really need the rest, but I have benefited from it and I can bounce back.”

Rhinos are in unfamiliar situation today as they attempt to get back on track following a defeat.

The 18-14 loss to Wigan last Saturday was only their second in 15 competitive games this year and ended a run of seven straight wins in all competitions.

“We want to get back to winning ways and to keep top spot,” Briscoe stated.

“I think the first half of the Castleford game (two weeks ago) wasn’t one of our best performances either, but we managed to sort that out at half-time.

“Against Wigan things didn’t go right at certain times in the game and they took advantage of that.

“We want to put in a good team performance and a full 80-minute performance as well.

“We want to stay top for the rest of the season and I don’t see why we can’t do that, the quality we’ve got and the form we’ve been in of late.

“I think hopefully we will push the loss to the side as just a blip in the season.

“We have been intense in training this week and hopefully we will bounce back.”

Hull have problems of their own after three successive defeats and only one win – at home to London Broncos – in their last five matches.

They went down 38-24 to Hull KR in last Saturday’s Magic Weekend derby, but Briscoe warned they will be firing on all cylinders tonight. He said: “The way they started at the weekend was good and we can’t expect any different.

“It’s a big game for them. They’ve lost a few on the trot now and they are starting to slip down the league. There’s a bit of pressure on the team at the minute and I think they will be wanting to bounce back and put in a good performance.

“They have got quality players. Unfortunately at the moment it hasn’t been clicking, but once it does they will be a tough team to beat.

“We have got to be ready for that and ready for a tough game.”

Briscoe expects Hull to raise their game against Leeds, but admitted that is business as usual for Rhinos.

“Moving to this club, everyone seems to raise their game against us,” he said. “Hull are no different to that.

“Everyone wants to be playing in the big games.

“And with us sitting top of the league (at the start of the round) everyone wants a crack at us and a chance of knocking us off there.

“It is a big game for us, coming off the back of a defeat.”

Leeds Rhinos from: Hardaker, Jones-Bishop, Sutcliffe, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Sinfield, Leuluai, Ablett, Bailey, Achurch, Clarkson, Delaney, S Ward, Kirke, Singleton, Briscoe, Watkins, R Ward.

Hull FC from: Shaul, Colbon, Talanoa, Yeaman, Crooks, Rankin, Miller, Paea, Houghton, Watts, Ellis, Hadley, Westerman, Heremaia, Bowden, Paleaaesina, Sa, Horne, Thompson.

Referee: James Child (Batley).

Kick-off: Tonight, 8pm.

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