Zak Hardaker says young stand-off Liam Sutcliffe should not be compared to Leeds Rhinos legend Kevin Sinfield.
Sutcliffe has started the last two games in the pivotal role, with Sinfield on the bench and then left out altogether against Huddersfield Giants last week.
His penalty goal secured a 24-24 draw, but Sutcliffe then missed with a late drop goal attempt – leading to speculation Rhinos would have won with Sinfield in the team.
“It’s ifs and buts,” Rhinos full-back Hardaker said. “It is a bit strange not having Kev out there, he is a quality leader, but in Sutty we’ve got a bit more of a running game. People are good at different things. If Kev had been playing he might have got a drop goal, but I thought Sutty played really well some of the balls he gave and some of his shows-and-goes. That part of his game is coming on really well. His kicking will come, he’s only young and we will work with that.”
Hardaker had mixed feelings about last week’s point. Leeds seemed set for a win when they led 22-8 at the break, but after three tries in seven second half minutes edged Giants ahead, Hardaker felt it was a good effort to come away with a draw.
“If you’d asked me at half-time, I’d definitely have said it was a point lost,” Hardaker said. “But in the second half we probably did 35 minutes’ defending, some off our errors and some ref calls.
“Whether they are right or wrong doesn’t really matter, he calls them. It was a tough gig in the second half, they really came at us, which we knew they were going to.
“We spoke about that at half-time, we knew they were going to bounce back. They are a quality team and that was always going to happen.
“It is a bit disappointing, we were all a bit quiet afterwards, but at the end of the day it’s a point and that’s better than none.
“We are still top of the table and that’s where we want to stay for the rest of the season.”