LEEDS RHINOS’ form surge has been as much down to mental improvements as physical or tactical ones, according to prop Brad Singleton.
A seven-game losing run has been followed by the sort of form which would have made Rhinos title contenders if it had come earlier in the year.
A one-point loss to Widnes Vikings proved costly, but Leeds beat Salford Red Devils and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in the games before that and bounced back with shock wins over the top two of Hull and Wigan Warriors.
“I think the effort was there even in the Widnes game, so I think the last five performances have been honest and I think they have been good,” Singleton said. Especially from the pack’s point of view. It has been good for us and I have enjoyed every minute of it.”
Leeds have looked a stronger side since players began returning from injury, but Singleton insisted: “I think every time we go out there, from one to 17 can do the job. It is just the mentality we go on to the field with.
“I think the defence now is a different class and I think it has even improved from last year. I think what we’ve got in D now, we can build on it.
“We are coming into form now and just the boys in general, you can see them coming to training with smiles on their faces. We are all enjoying ourselves and that’s all we want. We are just taking each game as it comes and each day as it comes and it is a happy environment to be in.”
The revival has come too late for Rhinos to sneak into First Utility Super League’s top-eight.
Instead they are facing a relegation battle in the Qualifiers over the final third of the season. Singleton reckons they have to take a positive approach. He said: “You can’t put you head down.
“You have to pick yourself up and work hard in training on Monday. We have to take this [form] into the next game.
“We’ve had two big challenges against teams at the top of the league and we’ve done a job on them. I think it’s great and it’s maybe a payback to the fans, because they have been great throughout the slump we’ve been in.
“I think we are going into this middle-eight flying. We’ve still got Hull KR this week and that’s going to be a big challenge, but hopefully we can get a good performance there.”
Rhinos will meet Hull KR again in the Qualifiers and Singleton sees Thursday’s away game as an opportunity to put a marker down.
“We can only get positives from these games,” he said.
“If you take all the positives we look a very good team.
“Obviously each game that goes by there’s negatives and a few sloppy things out there, but to then grind out a win, that’s what the difference is. I think it’s just effort from the boys. From one to 17 it has been awesome throughout these five weeks.”
Meanwhile, Wigan duo Taulima Tautai and Josh Charnley have been charged by the RFL’s match review panel over incidents in last Friday’s game.
Tautai is accused of making grade B dangerous contact on Rhinos forward Adam Cuthbertson and Charnley faces a grade C charge of making contact with a match official.
Neither player has the option of an early guilty plea and both will appear before the disciplinary committee in Leeds tonight.