IN TERMS of results it was a perfect Easter, but Ryan Hall reckons Leeds Rhinos let themselves down with their second-half performance against Widnes Vikings.
A 52-24 win at Hull on Good Friday followed by the 42-22 defeat of Widnes three days later took Rhinos to 16 points in Betfred Super League, equalling last year’s total with 12 games still to play.
Leeds are level on points with leaders Castleford Tigers going into the second half of the regular season, but they allowed Widnes to cut the gap from 24 points at half-time to just eight inside the final quarter and Hall admitted that took some of the gloss off an otherwise encouraging few days.
“It is decent going, but if you look at our second half on Monday it wasn’t what we wanted to produce,” Hall conceded.
“I know Widnes were always going to fight back and give it a bit more of a competitive edge, but we contributed to why they were good.
“Overall it’s quite positive. We got four points over the Easter period and scored some good points, but there’s things to work on, as always.”
Rhinos looked in total command at half-time against bottom club Widnes, but they completed only around 40 per cent of their sets in the second period.
Hall admitted their ball control needs to be better. He insisted: “It’s something we talked about at half-time, which is probably why we are a bit disappointed and the vibe afterwards in the changing rooms was a bit downbeat.
“But when we step back a bit, we are happy we’ve come through it and got two wins.”
Two games in four days tests all the Super League squads and Hall said the crucial thing now is to recover properly for the game coming up.
“The Easter period is tough every year,” he reflected. “All the players complain, but the RFL love it and the fans love it and I think it’s one of those things that will continue to happen.
“The management of it is key and we’ve got some good people managing us with regard to game time and how we recover and stuff like that.
“We’ve always dealt with it pretty well and traditionally we’ve done well over Easter. Looking back at this Easter we are quite happy with how things have gone again.”
While eight of the top-flight clubs are preparing for another Super League game this weekend, Leeds – after finishing in the bottom-four last year – are instead in Ladbrokes Challenge Cup action against Kingstone Press League One visitors Doncaster on Friday.
Hall said: “Doncaster are littered with ex-Super League players. They have got quality players and anything can happen in the Challenge Cup.
“The good thing is we are at home and we will deal with it professionally, I think.
“We’ll watch the other fixtures and see what happens.”
Other results went Rhinos’ way on Easter Monday, with Tigers and Salford Red Devils both losing.
“Cas are still going well and they look a good side this year,” Hall observed. “We’ve played everyone now and they gave us the biggest hiding.
“No team is going to go through unbeaten, everyone’s going to lose at some stage.
“It is just good to see the league is so competitive.”