LEEDS RHINOS need to “win at all costs” when they take on Leigh Centurions tomorrow, Aussie forward Adam Cuthbertson says.
Rhinos are on the back of a shock 28-20 defeat at Betfred Super League’s bottom club Widnes Vikings three days ago.
That was their fifth defeat to a team in the competition’s current bottom-six this season and Cuthbertson admitted they have to be better against the struggling sides.
Leigh are 11th in the table, but beat Hull last Friday to record their first away Super League victory.
“I hadn’t really considered it until after Monday’s game,” Cuthbertson said of Leeds’ poor record against lower-placed teams.
“We spoke about it then and said we’ve got Leigh coming up this week and we are going to have to pull our fingers out and get back to training and work hard and do what’s right.
“We have to win at all costs really. We’ve been knocked off by a couple of teams at the bottom of the table, then we get up so easily for the teams at the top of the table. It’s just about working hard.”
Rhinos led by 10 points at one stage against Widnes, were two ahead until the start of the final quarter and then regained the advantage with 11 minutes left, but were unable to hang on.
“They really stood up,” Cuthbertson reflected.
“They went in with a good game plan and obviously were quite enthusiastic.
“We started off well, but we just couldn’t keep our composure the whole game and that’s where we were undone.”
Leeds remain third in the table, but fourth-placed Wakefield Trinity are now level on points and Leeds are only one point ahead of Hull, who are fifth.
Defeats against struggling teams have proved costly so far and Cuthbertson admitted they can’t afford another slip-up tomorrow.
“If it’s any consolation, we have been bouncing back really well and showing we can find some form after a loss,” he said.
“Hopefully we can break the trend of losing to the bottom of the table and keep the trend of playing good footy. We are still in a good position, but it’s tough when you lose games like Monday’s.
“The biggest part of it is you don’t want to be getting to the Super-8s and chasing points. We just need to win the ones against the teams at the bottom. We need to be a bit more professional and go out with a bit more of a better attitude to these sorts of games. We’ve really got to put the foot to the throat and have that sort of mentality.”
Leigh were crushed 38-0 by league leaders Castleford Tigers on Monday.
But Leeds survived a late scare to beat them 17-14 in the second week of the season and Cuthbertson warned: “They are a lot more experienced now.
“I think they’ve got some players back too, the likes of Glenn Stewart.
“They are going to have some attack to throw at us and we’re going to have to turn up with the right attitude and deal with it accordingly.”