ACTING-CAPTAIN STEVIE Ward admits certain aspects of Leeds Rhinos’ game need a huge improvement, but insists effort is being put in and confidence remains intact.
Last weekend’s 33-20 defeat at Catalans Dragons was Rhinos’ sixth in 10 games since they pulled off a shock win at Betfred Super League leaders St Helens in March.
They have dropped to sixth in the table – with 15 points from as many games – and face a possible Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final banana skin on Friday against in-form Championship outfit Leigh Centurions at Featherstone Rovers’ LD Nutrition Stadium.
Ward captained Rhinos for the first time in the south of France after taking over from Kallum Watkins, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the previous game.
“I don’t think confidence is an issue,” said Ward.
“I think we’ve got some troops out, but we need to stick with it.
“There’s no lack of confidence, there’s no issue there and there’s certainly a work ethic there as well.
“It is just about putting it all together and putting teams under more pressure, I think.
“We’ve been in this situation before. We know the drill and it’s time to crack on and work hard to go forward.
“We have to look at certain parts of the game.
“There’s certain areas we really need to nail and it will come good from there.
“We do know the answers.”
Ward described the result three days ago as a “really tough loss”, but felt there were some positive signs.
Rhinos trailed 16-0 early on, but closed the gap to only three points soon after half-time and had chances to take the lead before the home team regained control.
They were without 10 senior players through injury or suspension and Ward said: “There was a spell when we showed some remarkable resilience.
“We just missed out on some things and errors kind of let Catalans back into it, but it’s these tough moments we have to work through.”
There was a scare at the start of the second half when Ward needed treatment for what initially appeared to be a serious injury, but he was eventually able to get up and play on.
Recalling that incident, he said: “I’m all right.
“Their [a Catalans defender’s] shoulder kind of knocked my head too far to the right and I felt it down my neck and shoulder.
“It’s best to get it checked out when it’s your neck, but luckily I could crack on.”
Ward is confident of being available for Friday and he predicted: “It’ll be a tough game.
“Leigh are going to throw everything at us, but it’s something we’re raring to go for.”