IN-FORM FULL-BACK Ashton Golding will be assessed today after suffering a bang to a shoulder in Leeds Rhinos’ 25-14 loss at Warrington Wolves three days ago.
Rhinos face three games in a week, starting at Hull on Friday and the injury is a concern, particularly with Liam Sutcliffe – a possible back-up full-back – having suffered concussion in the setback at HJ Stadium.
“My shoulder’s sore,” Golding said. “We’ll have a better idea [today].
“Easter is demanding on the body, but it’s good we’ve got strength in depth in our squad.”
The defeat last Friday ended Rhinos’ four-game winning run. They took an early 4-0 lead lead through a Tom Briscoe try after Warrington’s Ben Westwood had been sin-binned for a foul on Sutcliffe, but conceded six successive penalties following that and were pinned near their own line for long periods as the hosts build a 12-4 interval lead.
That was extended to 18-4 early in the second half, but Leeds rallied to within four points before a late converted try and drop goal sealed Warrington’s first Betfred Super League win of the season. Golding felt the damage was done in the opening 40 minutes.
He said: “In the first half we played a lot of the game in our own half. Hats off to Warrington, they played really well as we knew they would. It was no surprise how they played, it was just frustrating.
“We won’t be too down about it, we’ve still got our chests up. We’ve had a weekend to reflect on it and we’ll go again [today].”
Both the tries Rhinos conceded in the opening period were from kicks.
“We dug deep and we had to defend a lot,” Golding reflected. “It’s credit to our middle boys, they are moving, they are physically fit and it’s great to be behind that, just to be able to say ‘get there’ and they’re there.
“It makes my job a lot easier, but it doesn’t take the sting away from the result. It’s a big blow.”
Sutcliffe was unable to return after being knocked out in Westwood’s challenge, reducing Leeds to 16 available players for 79 minutes.
Golding said they couldn’t use that as an excuse. He insisted: “I didn’t look at that too much. It’s not my concern as long as there’s another 12 men on the field with the shirt on.
“We all know the score, you play with pride and represent the club and do yourself justice. I think every person on the field did that.”
Golding missed with his kicks after Leeds’ first two tries before Kallum Watkins took over and landed their only conversion. The full-back said: “My boots were on the wrong feet!
“I’ll get back at it in training, I’ll get my head down and I’ll go.”
Of the decision to switch kickers, Golding explained: “It’s just something between us.
“We are training partners, we do it all together, me and Kal. It’s one of those where if I’m not striking right in a game he’ll give me the nod and I’ll give him the nod and the same if he’s not.
“It is a joint decision and it came off because he kicked it.”
Golding, 20, is ever-present this season and described each week as a “development step”.
He said: “Every week I have another week’s training under my belt and I think my game is coming on.” Rhinos are now third in the table, one place and a point ahead of Hull, setting the scene for a huge clash this weekend.
“They love playing us and we love going there,” Golding said of the Good Friday showdown. We will preview them as well as we need to and there won’t be any surprises.
“There’s never any surprises, that’s one of the things we pride ourselves on, our preparation to every game is awesome. We’re still in a good position. We’ve had a few scratchy games when we could have got a win and [last Friday] was no exception.”
Meanwhile, Jack Walker scored a brace of tries and kicked five goals for Rhinos under-19s in a 64-6 win over Newcastle. Kiedan Hartley, Harry Newman and Dakota Whylie also crossed twice, Lewis Hosty, Josh Jordan-Roberts, Harvey Whiteley and Owen Trout were the other try scorers and Cameron Smith added three goals.