LEEDS RHINOS are building confidence for the business end of the season, England centre Kallum Watkins says.
Rhinos boosted their points difference and regained top spot in First Utility Super League when they thrashed Salford Red Devils 70-0 last weekend.
Leeds ran in 13 tries and Watkins said they need to produce a similar attacking effort at home to Catalans Dragons on Sunday, ahead of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final against St Helens in 10 days’ time and the following week’s opener in the Super-8s.
With second-placed St Helens in action on Friday night, Rhinos could be off top spot by Sunday afternoon, but a win would guarantee they end the regular season as league leaders.
“That’s important,” Watkins said. “Confidence is huge for us.
“It is going to be a tough game, but we have got a long turnaround and a lot of time to prepare for it.
“We might have a couple of bodies back as well and if we can deliver again this weekend it will give us great confidence going into the Super-8s.”
Leeds’ backs grabbed the headlines against Salford, but Watkins reckons the form of Rhinos’ pack will be crucial over the next three months.
He said: “It was a very good performance from us last week and a lot of credit has to go to the forwards.
“I thought they toughened up and set the platform for us.
“We were clinical with what we were doing and we weren’t silly with the ball.
“A lot of opportunities came up and we took them all, so it was a very pleasing performance from us.”
He added: “We obviously didn’t expect that type of scoreline, Salford are a good side and they’ve got some good players, but we were very good.”
Last week was the first time Rhinos have put an 80-minute performance together this year, according to Watkins.
“We talked about that all pre-season, putting that 80-minute performance in,” he said.
“We’ve been a bit silly with the ball at times and sometimes when we’ve got a healthy lead or the game’s won we have backed off.
“Or we’ve tried a little bit too hard and everyone’s trying to get involved, but on Friday we were sensible with the ball and very clinical in what we did.
“We were very confident with what we did as well.
“It is a performance we can take a lot of pride in, because at another time when they scored their try in the second half they could have got a couple more if we had backed off and let them in, which has happened throughout the season.”