LEEDS RHINOS are in Australia preparing for Friday’s World Club Challenge against Melbourne Storm.
They have two Betfred Super League wins under their belt, but face a much sterner test this week. Here are five talking points:
1: If Leeds turn over as much ball at AAMI Stadium as they did at Elland Road it is likely to be a long night. Rhinos made a succession of handling errors against Rovers and not all of them could be blamed on the difficult conditions.
2: That said, they restricted Hull KR to just two tries, coming back-to-back midway through the first half and generally their goalline defence was, for the second successive game, very good. If they defend like that this week they will give themselves a chance, but the attack needs to be much sharper.
3: Rhinos are lacking size for the big game. An injury curse has struck in the front-row with Anthony Mullally ruled out after suffering a fractured finger against Rovers. He joins props Keith Galloway (Achilles), Mitch Garbutt (dead leg) Nathaniel Peteru (biceps) and Mikolaj Oledzki (shoulder) on the casualty list, along with back-rower Brett Ferres (knee).
4: Jimmy Keinhorst would be in the 17 every week at most teams. The centre/second-rower – who scored a hat-trick last Thursday – is skilful, a good finisher and strong in defence. He is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench against Storm, with Liam Sutcliffe reverting to centre and Joel Moon returning at stand-off, but deserves his place.
5: Rhinos have lacked a specialist goal kicker since Kevin Sinfield’s retirement. Kallum Watkins seemed to filled the void, but after he missed two kicks from four against Warrington, Richie Myler took over at Elland Road, with similar results.