IN-FORM HOOKER Matt Parcell expects Leeds Rhinos to face a backlash in tomorrow’s Betfred Super-8s derby at Wakefield Trinity.
Wakefield are on a two-game losing run including a 36-6 drubbing at Huddersfield Giants in their opening eights fixture last Friday.
Rhinos bounced back from their Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final defeat to Hull by producing an impressive display to beat Wigan Warriors last weekend and Parcell reckons Trinity will be out to do the same at Belle Vue.
Trinity, who went into the final game of the regular season with a chance of claiming third place, have dropped to sixth in the table, but will climb into the top four – for 24 hours at least – if they beat Leeds.
Parcell said: “It was a tough game the last time we played them and they will have been disappointed with their result last weekend.
“They need to win this game to maintain a push for the top-four, so it is a massive game for both teams.
“I guess they will have a point to prove.
“We had that last week, we were disappointed with how we played against Hull and then we came out and responded really well against Wigan.
“They will be looking to do the same.”
The performance and result against the champions were a tonic for the Rhinos following their Cup disappointment and will ensure they go into Thursday’s derby in confident mood.
Parcell said: “It was good to get back to how we play best, a bit free-flowing and reactive and playing off the back of each other. We’ve just got to continue that I guess.
“You have only got to be a little bit off and you will lose a lot of games, but the positive we can take out of Hull is it was a bit of a reality check.
“We refocused and did really well last week and we have got to continue that now.”
Rhinos will go into this week’s game in second spot on the table, eight points behind Castleford Tigers, but three ahead of third-placed Hull.
St Helens are a further two points behind in fourth, with Salford Red Devils and Wakefield a further point adrift.
The top four at the end of the Super-8s will qualify for the semi-finals, with the teams finishing first and second having home advantage.
“We are getting to the business end now,” Parcell observed.
“We’re second and we’ve just got to hold on to that.
“Most of the games will be massive now, but we’ve just got to maintain that gap we’ve got over Hull.
“They are playing really well at the moment, so we’ve got to keep winning games.”
Meanwhile, Parcell said he is mystified by a report in League Weekly newspaper which suggested he wants to return to his native Australia at the end of the season.
The 24-year-old signed for Rhinos from Manly Sea Eagles on a three-year contract last December after James Segeyaro decided not to return to the club.
Parcell has been one of Leeds’ top performers this year, scoring 15 tries in 26 appearances.
He said he will be at Leeds next season and added: “I am happy here.
“Everything is going well.
“It is just a rumour I guess.”