Leeds Rhinos: Flier Briscoe aims to keep his foot on the gas

Tom Briscoe
Tom Briscoe
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LANCE TODD trophy winner Tom Briscoe says Leeds Rhinos must keep their foot on the gas.

Rhinos return to action, following last Saturday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final triumph, when they host St Helens in the First Utility Super-8s tonight.

And with Rhinos top of the league and bidding for an historic clean-sweep of trophies, Briscoe insisted there’s no more time for celebration.

“Obviously what’s ahead is a great prospect for the club and for us as players – and the individuals who are leaving the club as well,” said Briscoe, who scored five tries in the Wembley rout of Hull KR.

“We had a word after the game and on the bus coming up to Leeds, saying we know we can enjoy this [the post-final celebrations], but we have a big game coming up against St Helens,

“We really want to push on and win the league leaders’ shield and then push on to the Grand Final. We have to put our best foot forward in order to win that as well.”

Rhinos had a celebration evening at a central London hotel after the final and showed off the Challenge Cup to fans at Headingley Carnegie the following afternoon, but were in training on Monday and back down to business, Briscoe said.

Last year the homecoming was held on the Monday afternoon and it was brought forward this time to give the team an extra day to prepare for Saints’ visit.

“After that [the homecoming] we put a line under Wembley and on Monday we were back in, we brushed ourselves off, looked at the video to see what we did right and wrong and then looked ahead to Saints,” he confirmed.

“That is a big challenge and we want to do better than we did last year. It was a completely different feeling last year. The Challenge Cup took so much out of us, emotionally and physically. I think we really struggled after that – and not only after, but before as well. We lost the games before that as well.

“This year we went into the final on a win and we’ll be looking to go out of the final on a win as well. We know it is a big game. We really enjoyed the final and homecoming; it was the last chance some of the boys had to play at Wembley and in a Challenge Cup tie, but come Monday we were switched on and concentrating on Super League.”

A win tonight would move Rhinos six points clear of second-placed Wigan Warriors, who face Catalans Dragons in London tomorrow.

“Sitting in first place, it is a great spot to be,” Briscoe added.

“We are in a great position to really push on and get the league leaders’ shield and that would put us in a good position to be able to qualify for the Grand Final.”

Briscoe had another Cup final duty to perform on Wednesday, when he received the Lance Todd trophy from last year’s winner, Rhinos’ other first-choice winger Ryan Hall.

Briscoe admitted he will be glad to get back to playing after the acclaim around his five-try feat, but he has appreciated the attention it has brought.

“It hasn’t got wearing,” he said. “I think scoring five tries at Wembley is an incredible achievement and as time goes on I think it will sink in a bit more. This week I have just been riding the wave of excitement.”

His man of the match performance probably made him even more popular with the black and white half of Hull than when he played for them.

“I’ve had a lot of messages from players and fans of FC – they certainly enjoyed that one,” he said.