Leeds Rhinos: Hardaker says Leeds still have lessons to learn

Zak Hardaker
Zak Hardaker
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FULL-BACK ZAK Hardaker says Leeds Rhinos need to learn some quick lessons before Thursday’s trip to Hull.

Rhinos will be aiming to make it four wins from four in First Utility Super League, but Hardaker admitted they have to improve from last week’s 28-24 win over Huddersfield Giants.

Hardaker said: “Obviously it was good to get the two points last week. We are three from three and we haven’t lost, so on that front we’re quite happy, but we were disappointed with the performance (against Huddersfield).

“We led 18-0 and we shouldn’t have let that slip. They really got a good roll on towards the back end of the first half and we let them right back in it. They are a dangerous team when they get opportunities to do that, so that’s something we’ve talked about.

“A win’s a win and we got the two points, which is pleasing, but there’s still things to work on and we’ll be doing that this week, because we’ve got another tough game on Thursday.”

Hardaker said the new structures and systems Rhinos are using this year worked early on, but Leeds struggled when they went away from their game plan.

“In the first 20 minutes-half an hour we were putting points on and playing really well,” he said. “We were sticking to the game plan, but then we went off the boil a bit and invited them back in.

“We know when we do stick to our structures and play well we can put points on the board, but then when we let it slip we seem to let points in, so that’s something to build on, but the positive is three from three.”

Hardaker admitted he wasn’t happy with his own performance last week and he’ll be aiming for better at KC Stadium.

“It wasn’t really a backs’ game,” he said. “There wasn’t really much ball out wide, it was quite forwardy. When the breaks happened some of the backs scored. There were ups and downs, but on the whole we got the two points, which is good.”

Rhinos’ winning try was scored by hooker Paul Aiton, with his first touchdown for the club. Hardaker reckons the former Wakefield Trinity Wildcats man has been one of the successes of Leeds’ season so far.

“He has been brilliant,” said the full-back. “In pre-season he was magnificent. You are going to have to be good to keep Rob Burrow out of the team, aren’t you?“

“In defence he has been fantastic, it’s like another prop-forward tackling out there, which is really good.

“At the end he showed how good he is, darting over like that. Not many players can finish like that.

“We were pleased for him and he was over the moon.”