Leeds Rhinos: Keinhorst keen to keep Hull cup hangover in perspective

Jimmy Keinhorst. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
Jimmy Keinhorst. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

LEEDS RHINOS have come a long way in 12 months, Jimmy Keinhorst reckons, but he admits they are still well short of their main goal.

Rhinos will square up to Hull at Headingley tomorrow knowing victory would guarantee their place in the play-offs.

Hull celebrate their 2017 Challenge Cup final triumph. PIC: Charlie Forgham-Bailey/SWpix.com

Hull celebrate their 2017 Challenge Cup final triumph. PIC: Charlie Forgham-Bailey/SWpix.com

It would also open a five-point gap over the visitors, who are third on the Betfred Super-8s table, and be a giant leap towards home advantage for the semi-finals, possibly against Hull.

Rhinos finished ninth in Super League last year and spent the final two months of their campaign fighting against relegation in the middle-eights Qualifiers.

“It would be good if we can do it after last year’s disappointing season,” Keinhorst said of the prospect of a semi-final tie.

“To turn that around and finish in the top four would be great, but we know where we want to be come the end of the season and we will be focusing on that.”

Keinhorst added: “I think we can win it [the Grand Final]. We are second in the league, but performances have perhaps been a bit hit and miss this year.

“When we have played well, we have played well, but we have maybe struggled finding that consistency in our performances.

“Going into the last few games we have to put a run of performances together, but we believe in each other and we are confident and, hopefully, we can build some consistency and put that together in the next few games.”

Rhinos are on the back of a two-point win over St Helens a fortnight ago, but their best performances this season have come following defeats.

“What we have done well is bounce back from poor performances or losses,” Keinhorst said.

“We haven’t had back-to-back defeats in the league so we have been good in that regard, but we don’t want to have those losses in the first place.

“That’s where we need to find that consistency.

“The semi-final and final are two big games and we need to perform at our best to stand any chance.

“There’s a bit of a gap between us and Hull and, if we get our performance right [tomorrow], we can widen that gap and, hopefully, push towards cementing second place.

“That would be great heading into the play-offs and if we finish second it gives us a home semi, which is important. We want to keep up a bit of momentum building into that.”

Tomorrow’s visitors are on a high after retaining the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup with an 18-14 Wembley conquering of Wigan Warriors just four days ago.

Much of their time since has been spent celebrating, but Keinhorst warned Leeds can’t rely on Hull having a hangover.

He said: “It is a short turnaround for them as well, but we can’t read too much into that.

“I’m sure they will want to get back on the horse in the league so and I don’t think we can take anything for granted. We have got to be on our game for sure because they will provide as tough a test as usual.”

Keinhorst has been an unused substitute in Leeds’ last two games.

He admitted: “You want to get out and play and not doing it is a bit frustrating and difficult at times, but you have to crack on with the next job and I’ll be looking to do that.”