SKIPPER KEVIN Sinfield believes Leeds Rhinos are still in a “great spot”, despite successive defeats.
Rhinos will aim to bounce back from losses to St Helens and Catalans Dragons when they play host to Castleford Tigers in the First Utility Super-8s tomorrow.
Leeds were four points clear at the top of the table following last month’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final triumph, but their advantage over Wigan Warriors is now down to points difference.
Barring a mathematical miracle, wins in their final two games – against Castleford and at Huddersfield Giants eight days later – would secure the league leaders’ shield and Sinfield admitted: “We’ve got to regroup.
“We’ve had a tough fortnight, but we are still in a great spot and we wouldn’t swap it with any other team in the league.
“If we win our next two games we will be top, but we have still got it all to do.
“People keep talking about the treble, but let’s see if we can get Thursday out of the way first.”
Last Saturday’s 46-16 defeat in Perpignan was Rhinos’ worst for more than three years.
They conceded eight tries and did not get points on the board until the final quarter and the captain reflected: “I thought Catalans played very well and they caught us on an off-day.
“Conditions were very warm, it was tough, but no complaints from us – we weren’t good enough on Saturday and we weren’t good enough the week before.
“I think it was always going to be difficult in these eights. Nobody quite knew what effect it would have on teams.
“Saints have had a slump, we’ve lost two now and Cas have lost a few as well.
“Hopefully we will fight our way out of this rut now and we’ll kick on.”
Rhinos lost all four games after Wembley last year, but Sinfield said he is confident there will be no repeat of that this time.
“I am sure parts of the media will jump on that,” he said of the comparison with 2014.
“But we just weren’t good enough at the weekend.
“It is a short turnaround this week and that can be a good thing when you’re on the back of something like that.
“We are looking forward to Thursday’s game. Cas beat us last time we played them at home and we know how dangerous they can be.
“It has been tough for them the last few weeks, but they played some decent stuff against Saints last week and were well in the game.
“They will cause us a threat. Any team coached by Daryl Powell is going to come out and have a real go and we’ve got to make sure we are good.”
Kallum Watkins is set to return for Rhinos tomorrow after recovering from an ankle injury.
Rob Burrow (quad) has also been named in the initial 19-man squad, but remains a doubt.
Mitch Achurch is unavailable due to a hand injury suffered against Catalans.
Jimmy Keinhorst misses out again because of a facial injury, but does not require surgery and could be available in two weeks’ time.