Leeds Rhinos: ‘Same old story’ is starting to irk Lilley

Jordan Lilley
Jordan Lilley
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LEEDS RHINOS’ rising star Jordan Lilley admits he is fed up of the same old story.

Ten defeats from 13 games has left last year’s treble winners bottom of First Utility Super League and Lilley reckons familiar failings are letting them down every in every match.

Last week’s 28-20 loss at Huddersfield Giants, who Leeds face again in the Challenge Cup this Friday, was a huge setback, and Lilley reflected: “They are all tough to take.

“Each week we’re getting beaten we are not far off, but it seems to be the same things we are falling down on.

“It’s not good enough and we need to pick ourselves up and turn it around on Friday.

“There were times in [last Friday’s game] that you look at and think ‘absolutely brilliant’, but there was also stuff that was hard to look at in review.”

He added: “It is all part of the learning curve.

“We are a new side and a young side and we have got a lot of injuries, but we can’t blame them.

“Hopefully we will get a few bodies back and we have just got to go back there this week and give a good account of ourselves.”

Rhinos hit back three times after Huddersfield had gone ahead and they led as late as the 73rd minute before two late tries – including one on the final play – sealed Giants’ win.

The reigning champions showed similar resilience against St Helens in their previous game, and Lilley insisted: “Even though we have got the big names out we have still got a very good side here.

“We have got the foundations, we have got good players in the team and we have got enough experience in the team to be winning games like [last Friday’s]. We just keep falling short and it’s disappointing.”

Lilley has been in Rhinos’ 17 for all but two of their 14 competitive fixtures this year and has been a shining light in a disastrous campaign.

“I’ve been asked about me playing well, but I would trade that all in for being at the top of the table, even if I was playing rubbish,” he said. “I would do that 100 per cent to be winning. I am gaining experience week in and week out and it is good for me, but I would rather be on the winning end.”

At just 19, the former Stanningley junior is the rookie in the senior squad, but feels he is developing his game, despite the poor results.

“I am growing in confidence week by week,” he said. “I am doing things I probably didn’t do at the start of the season.

“I am listening to Mac and Barry and Plumey [coach Brian McDermott and assistants Barry Eaton and Chris Plume] and I keep coming back each week stronger. On Friday I was probably a bit disappointed with my defence, because that’s something I have a big focus on. I came up with a couple of missed tackles, one for a try and a couple of others that were soft on my behalf. I’ll kick myself for that, but I will work on it this week and come back next week and put it right.”

Lilley is developing the art of being in the right place at the right time, turning defence into attack against Giants on several occasions.

“It seems to be my big thing at the moment, interceptions,” he said. “I just can’t seem to finish them off!”