A YEAR after being mocked for bold predictions of success, chief executive Gary Hetherington says Leeds Rhinos will have to scrap every inch of the way in 2016.
Hetherington’s controversial claim Rhinos’ 2015 squad was their best-ever was proved correct as Brian McDermott’s men achieved an historic clean sweep of domestic trophies – but he reckons next year will be even tougher.
“The end of 2015 could not be more marked to the end of 2014,” Hetherington said.
“This time last year I was trying to raise confidence at a time when everyone was predicting we would not finish above fourth.
“I said then it was our best-ever squad and there was a real confidence within the club we would do well.
“A year later I find myself trying to do the opposite and manage expectations, because there is so much euphoria and confidence about.”
Kevin Sinfield, Kylie Leuluai, Paul Aiton and Jamie Peacock have all moved on, but Hetherington insisted Aussies Keith Galloway and Beau Falloon are capable of stepping up to the plate, alongside Irish international Anthony Mullally and youngsters Ashton Golding, Ash Handley, Jordan Lilley and Jordan Baldwinson.
But he admitted other squads have improved and he warned: “The whole competition has stepped up for next year, without doubt. Trying to pick the top eight is going to be difficult.”