WOUNDED LEEDS Rhinos don’t have time to feel sorry for themselves, stand-off Joel Moon says.
Rhinos will begin their Betfred Super-8s campaign at home to Wigan Warriors on Friday, six days after their Wembley dreams were shattered by a 43-24 semi-final loss to Hull FC in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.
Rhinos start the seven extra rounds in second place in the table, three points clear of Hull and with a four-point advantage over Salford Red Devils and fifth-placed Wakefield Trinity.
Fixtures for the opening round of the Super-8s grouped the Cup semi-finalists together, with Hull playing host to Salford on Friday.
Asked if Rhinos can get their chins off the floor, Moon said: “We are going to have to.
“We have got to brush it [the semi-final] off and move forward now and try to get to the Grand Final.
“It’s the start of the eights and we’ve got to perform now.
“We’ve got to forget about that game, move forward and work on things and get back to training.
“We have got some great players and players who are experienced in that sort of stuff.
“We know we can’t dwell on that and we have to back up this week.”
But Moon admitted Rhinos are still hurting from their performance as much as the semi-final result.
It was the most points scored against Leeds in 47 appearances at that stage of the competition and Moon added: “It was a tough loss.
“They were outstanding, they didn’t give us anything. They were great and credit to them, but we just didn’t perform.
“We didn’t build pressure or do what we’re capable of doing.”
Working out what went wrong and how to put it right will be a major focus of preparations this week.
“I think there were a few different things,” said the converted centre.
“We obviously didn’t want to have it as much as they did and that showed in some areas.
“We just weren’t desperate enough to get places where we had to be. It was very disappointing.
“They are hard games, semi-finals, but Hull played really well. When we were a bit off they capitalised, so it was a tough day.”
Moon has backed Tom Briscoe to bounce back after his difficult afternoon against Hull.
The winger had a torrid time under kicks from Marc Sneyd, but Moon insisted he was not to blame and will respond the right way. He predicted: “He definitely will. None of us were on point and we will have to look at that this week and going forward and build some confidence again and move on from here.”