TONIGHT’S VISIT of Catalans Dragons is all about Leeds Rhinos righting some wrongs.
The past week has been dominated by fall out from the record 66-10 thrashing at Castleford Tigers eight days ago.
But prop Adam Cuthbertson says it is now time to put that to bed and insists everyone in the camp is relishing the opportunity to create some positive headlines.
Four games into their Betfred Super League campaign, Rhinos are seventh in the table and Cuthbertson reckons the situation is not as bleak as it appeared in the aftermath of the humiliation at the Jungle..
“Obviously it wasn’t great last week, but we are still at a 50 per cent win ratio and in the first three rounds we got two good wins and were unlucky not to get a win against St Helens,” he reflected.
“Last week we came up against a red hot Cas team and went in a little bit, probably not unprepared, but we had a few players on the sideline which didn’t help.
“I think if we get players back and with the training we’ve had coming into the Catalans game, that’s going to be massive for us.
“We are just really looking forward to getting back to Headingley and putting our wrongs right.”
There will be a sense of nervousness on the terraces this evening, but Cuthbertson insisted Rhinos’ players are looking ahead rather than back.
“There’s no point dwelling on it,” he insisted.
“Some good teams have turned up in the past and got spanked and gone on to win Grand Finals.
“It is a long season and you just have to get on with it.
“We’ve got to make sure we improve this week and come out and play well and try and get the win and then move on from there.
“We have to put the past behind us.”
Despite the defeat at the Jungle and the reaction to it, Cuthbertson described the mood among Rhinos’ players this week as “pretty good”.
He said: “We were pretty decent in the first few games so what happened last week was a bit left-field, but we’ve sat down and spoken about it and found the answers so hopefully we can go out there and produce some good rugby league.”
Catalans have won their last three meetings with Rhinos and did a home and away double last season.
The French side are unbeaten in 2016, with wins over Warrington Wolves and Hull and a draw last week against Widnes Vikings.
“I didn’t get to see the game,” Cuthbertson said of Catalans’ stalemate six days ago.
“I saw they got a tie which is unusual for them at home, they are usually quite strong at home.
“But I don’t think I’ve ever played an easy game against Catalans. You have to go out there and show them a lot of respect.
“They have got some good players, especially with Greg Bird there now. He’s very tenacious and a good competitor.
“He will be turning up and you can see he is really trying to lead them at the moment.
“Obviously Paul [Aiton, the former Leeds hooker] comes back to Headingley with something to prove.
“It is going to be a tough one for us, but it is going to be better for us to come out of last week and have a tough challenge and get some confidence out of this game.”
Leeds beat Salford Red Devils 20-14 in their only previous home game this term, two weeks ago and Cuthbertson added: “We want to make Headingley a fortress.
“I really believe we need to make this a tough place to come for teams, moving forward.”
Chief executive Gary Hetherington has highlighted the importance of the next four games, saying coaches, players and senior management will be assessed after the meetings with Catalans, Wakefield Trinity, Huddersfield Giants and Wigan Warriors.
Three of the next four games are at home and Cuthbertson believes a run of victories would turn things around and leave Rhinos in good shape.
“Obviously last week was a bad result scoreboard-wise, but if we get a couple of wins we are sitting healthy and people start forgetting about it and what’s gone on in the past and just get on with the season,” he said.
“Wigan had 60 points scored against them by Wakefield last year and they came back and took out the competition and looked really good doing so, so that’s the evidence.”
On a personal note, Cuthbertson feels he is moving in the right direction.
After an outstanding first year at Leeds, in 2015, by his own admission he did not reach the same heights last term.
But he said: “I am feeling good, I’ve had a couple of good games under my belt and I’m just looking to build on that.
“Obviously I am a lot fitter these days.
“I am having to do a bit more work out of the field which makes playing the game a lot easier for me and a lot more enjoyable as well.”
Leeds Rhinos: from Golding, Briscoe, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Parcell, Cuthbertson, Ablett, Sutcliffe, Delaney, Singleton, Keinhorst, Walters, Mullally, Ormondroyd, Baldwinson, Lilley.
Catalans Dragons: from Broughton, Wiliame, Walsh, Myler, Aiton, Casty, Anderson, Horo, Bird, Bousquet, Garcia, Bosc, Baitieri, Duport, Simon, Burgess, Thornley, Albert, Da Costa.
Referee: James Child (Batley).
Kick-off: Tonight, 8pm.