Leeds Rhinos: Peacock hails centre pairing

Jamie Peacock
Jamie Peacock
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DYNAMIC DUO Kallum Watkins and Joel Moon are the two best centres Leeds Rhinos legend Jamie Peacock has played with.

The 37-year-old former England captain has paid his team-mates the ultimate compliment as Rhinos step up preparations for Friday’s huge home showdown with St Helens.

Watkins and Moon were among the try scorers in Rhinos’ gritty 24-6 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final win at Hull last week.

Peacock reckons Rhinos will be right in the hunt for all available honours this year if they maintain current form.

“I thought our centres were brilliant – Moony and Kallum Watkins were unbelievable,” said Peacock.

“Everyone played well, but those two just stood out. We are lucky to have them. I said to them afterwards I feel lucky to play with them.

“I have played with some great centres and these two are the best I’ve played alongside. I’ve played alongside Keith (Senior) and Shontayne Hape, but I think those two are unbelievable players.”

Watkins is an established Test player, but Peacock, in the 18th season of his career, added: “They are both absolutely outstanding.

“If Joel was English, he’d walk into the England side. They would be the two starting England centres.

“They are two fantastic players, great centres and great blokes as well.”

The win last Friday will send Leeds into this week’s game in good heart, according to Peacock. He said: “It was a good performance.

“We have been doing all right the last few weeks, but we knew we needed to go there and play well to beat a good Hull side.

“They have been in good form, but I thought we delivered. We played the conditions well, but with our team, when one to 17 play well we generally get close to getting the result and we did that.”

Rhinos have won their last two games after a dip when they lost four of seven league matches.

Peacock insisted: “The only place confidence is down is outside our group.

“We’ve got strong belief in what we can do as a team and where we need to go. The league is that tight, the reality is teams are going to beat you from time to time.

“You aren’t going to go through the season unbeaten or playing your best all year. We’ve come through it.”

Rhinos are top of the table, with Saints second and Wigan, whom Leeds visit a week on Thursday, in third spot.

“They’re not defining games,” said Peacock of the next two weeks. “There’s plenty of time to go yet, but they are two we want to win.

“We want to put our best foot forward against St Helens and we lost to Wigan last time we played them, so we want to put that right.

“We want to finish top of the league and if we’re serious about it, we’re going to have to win these two games.”

Meanwhile, Castleford duo Denny Solomona and Luke Gale are among the nominees for June’s First Utility Super League player of the month award.

Others in contention are Huddersfield Giants’ Jared Simpson, Shannon McDonnell of St Helens and Hull KR half-back Albert Kelly.

Fans have the opportunity to vote via www.facebook.com/firstutilitysuperleague

Each fan who votes will go into a prize draw with one supporter getting the chance to present the First Utility Super League player of the month trophy to the winning player.

The two players with the most votes will be considered by a judging panel who will decide the winner.