IT HAS to be business as usual for Leeds Rhinos, despite their six-point lead in First Utility Super League, in-form forward Stevie Ward says.
Rhinos hold the biggest advantage at the top of the table since Wigan were three wins clear in 2010, but Ward stressed: “We’re not looking too much into it.
“We’ve got to prepare the same each week. Nothing’s won now, we know that by experience. There’s a long way until any type of silverware yet, so we’ve got to stay switched on.”
Of Rhinos’ latest win, 41-16 at St Helens three days ago, Ward said: “It just shows hard work pays off. It was a really tough game and Saints let us off the hook a few times with dropped balls and stuff, but it was one of those games where you need to be the hardest-working team and I think little things paid off for us in the end.”
Leeds were clinical in the first half, scoring five tries to go in 28-6 ahead, before holding off a Saints fightback after the break.
Ward felt Leeds’ ability to make the most of their opportunities was a crucial factor in their 10th win from 11 games.
“It’s not bad when you defend a set, then you see Ash Handley going 100 metres up the wing and taking six points,” he said.
“That’s the thing we worked on in pre-season, making chances count. Last year we were probably a bit guilty of not taking advantage of stuff like that, but that’s what wins you games. When you go to places like St Helens you need to take them, or you’ll find yourself in a really tough game.”
Saints cut the gap to 12 points at one stage in the second half and Ward, who made a remarkable 46 tackles, added: “They put us under a lot of pressure, but as long as we’ve got that attitude to work for each other in defence, we should be okay.
“It was strange going in that many points in front at Saints, it’s something we’ve not really experienced before, so we had to go out with the same mentality we had from the start.”