THERE ARE “positives and negatives” to Leeds Rhinos’ incredible run of close matches, according to front-rower Brad Singleton.
No more than two points has separated the teams in Rhinos’ last four – and six of the past seven – Betfred Super League fixtures, including the 20-18 win at Hull KR three days ago.
That makes for exciting entertainment for fans and suggests the competition is closer than ever, but Singleton admits Rhinos would rather be winning by greater margins.
“It was another close game, but we’d like to put a better performance in so we don’t just get the result in the dying seconds,” Singleton said of Rhinos’ latest close call.
“It depends how you look at things; if you look positively all these close games compliment the league, how close it is.
“We have been very close to taking three wins, but if you look at it negatively, we should be taking those wins.
“Why aren’t we putting teams to the sword and putting them to bed?
“That’s for us and I think it starts defensively. I am going to be negative and say our start was poor [last Sunday].
“I think defensively, especially in the middle, we need to have a look at ourselves.”
Rhinos trailed 8-0 early on at Hull KR and 18-12 at the break.
They clawed their way ahead in the third quarter and then withstood heavy pressure in the final 25 minutes.
They were 24-0 down early in the one-point loss to Castleford, 12-0 adrift before drawing at Huddersfield and eight and 14 points behind at Wakefield Trinity and Hull, games they won by two points and lost by one respectively.
“I don’t think it’s systems, I think it’s mental, I think it is attitude at the start of games,” Singleton said.
“We need to be better at that.”
Rhinos face another crucial fixture on Friday when they play host to Warrington Wolves, who are third in the table and on a seven-game winning run.
Singleton reckons they can’t afford to give the visitors an early lead this week.
He added: “They always start well.
“They put a lot into their starts and, at the moment, we are having poor starts.
“We will talk about it, but we have to get our attitude right.”
Singleton returned to the side against Hull KR having sat out the previous week’s defeat at Hull.
That was the first game he has missed this year and he said he got through his comeback unscathed, despite a scare.
“I rolled my ankle,” he said of the injury which ended his ever-present record.
“I thought it was going to go again in the first half [last Sunday].
“After that I felt all right, it was absolutely fine.
“It was good to be back.
“You forget, when you’re out, how much you enjoy it when you’re actually playing out there.
“I do love it in the middle.
“I love the minutes I am playing and, at the end of the day, we got the win, so I loved every minute of it.
“It was a really tough game.
“Hull KR always up their game for us and it’s great to play there because the atmosphere’s great and it’s a hostile environment.”
Coach Brian McDermott will name his initial 19 to face Warrington today.