THE SHOCK defeat by struggling Huddersfield Giants was a “wake-up call” for Leeds Rhinos, Brett Delaney says.
Leeds’ hopes of going top of Betfred Super League were dashed when they slumped 31-12 at home to the competition’s second-bottom team.
It was Giants’ second win of the season – and their first for more than two months – and came four days after they had been dumped out of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup by Kingstone Press Championship part-timers Swinton Lions.
Rhinos had been unbeaten at home since last July – a run of 11 games – and back-rower Delaney admitted the loss was a shock to the system.
“It was really disappointing,” Delaney said.
“It was a bit of a wake-up call.
“We have been playing all right lately, but full credit to Huddersfield – they came out and they were better than us for the full 80 minutes.
“I think it was a kick up the backside we needed and we go again this week.”
Delaney refused to use fatigue as an excuse.
It was Rhinos’ fourth game in two weeks, but he said: “They had played the same number of games as us.
“We can’t use tiredness or the schedule as an excuse. It is the same for everyone.
“They were better than us and it’s just disappointing.
“If we would have won we would have been on top, but it is what it is. We will have to do it the hard way again.
“We have to go back to the drawing board in training this week and get back to working hard for each other.
“We have to rebuild and get back out there against Catalans.
“We have to get back on the horse and get a win.”
Delaney was one of six players recalled against Huddersfield after being rested for the Challenge Cup win over League One visitors Doncaster six days earlier. On a personal note he said he is happy with the game time he has been getting and his impact in matches.
He missed the end of last season due to a dislocated kneecap, but reflected: “It was my first pre-season in six or seven years and that comes into effect.
“I have got a good base and I feel I am playing some good minutes.
“My body is feeling great so I can’t complain, but obviously it would have been better with the win on Thursday.”
Rhinos have a long turnaround to Saturday’s clash with Catalans in Perpignan.
The loss last week makes it a huge game for Leeds, who have bounced back from all their three defeats this year with a win in the following fixture.
“It is a must-win game,” Delaney stated. “It is going to be a tough game over there, obviously.
“We are going to be without a couple of England boys [Kallum Watkins and Ryan Hall], but that is no excuse.
“We have got to go over there and do a job. We need to get back on track.
“We will rip in this week and that’s what we are aiming for.”
Delaney said the situation now is similar to when Rhinos suffered a record 66-10 defeat at Castleford Tigers almost two months ago.
They won their next four games – beginning with a 46-10 victory over Catalans – and he said: “The Cas game was a massive wake-up call and we turned it around the week after.
“We need to turn it around again and be more consistent.
“We took our foot off the gas [on Thursday].
“We were in third gear all night and it cost us the game. It was frustrating and it was a frustrating game.
“There was two points on the line and we weren’t good enough.
“The effort was there, but we were back at home and we love playing in front of our fans.
“To go out and only put 12 points on the board is really disappointing.”