AUSTRALIAN FORWARD Adam Cuthbertson insists there is no need for Leeds Rhinos to panic, despite a poor start to their pre-season campaign.
Rhinos suffered a second successive defeat in the Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge when they went down 30-6 to visitors Wakefield Trinity.
Last year’s Boxing Day defeat set the tone for a dismal season during which Rhinos won only three of their opening 19 competitive matches and finished ninth in Super League.
Cuthbertson admitted the latest defeat was not what Leeds’ players were hoping for or expecting, but insisted they know where they went wrong and can put it right.
“It was one of those games,” Cuthbertson said.
“The competitive nature of all the boys means we don’t want to go out and lose, obviously, but we were our own worst enemies.
“We played some good rugby, then gave away silly field position through errors or penalties.
“It doesn’t matter what team you are, if you give too much ball and field position away it is hard to defend.
“I like to win and personally I probably could have been a lot more involved with the game, but it was one of those games where we had the young kids coming through and it was good to show their hand and get them involved.”
Rhinos were out-scored by six tries to one, their only touchdown coming late in the game when they trailed 26-0.
Cuthbertson said he is confident Rhinos can correct their mistakes before the trip to St Helens in Betfred Super League round one on Thursday, February 9.
“A lot of the errors and penalties were really silly and unlikely from us,” he added. “Pre-season has been really good and really tough.
“We have trained really hard. Most of it has just been getting fit, really. Most of the ball work stuff comes into play after Christmas.
“It has been a case of getting all the boys up to scratch and we will start doing more team-based stuff now.”
Cuthbertson reckons Ryan Hall’s testimonial game against Hull KR on January 20 will be a better indication of how they are shaping up ahead of the new campaign.
He said: “We will have a lot of senior players back, who have been away with England or just had a rest or were suspended.
“I think we’ll be good. You can’t read too much into the Boxing Day game. Wakey came and they were really good and they played a really good brand of footy and we were just our own worst enemy.”
On a personal level, Cuthbertson feels he has made strides over the off-season. The Aussie feels he will go into his third year at Leeds in good shape and he said: “I am looking forward to it.
“I am feeling really fit – one positive I took out of the Boxing Day game was I felt very fit out there.
“I have dropped a few kilogrammes now so I am able tomove around the park a lot better.”