THE LEAGUE leaders’ shield is still in Leeds Rhinos’ sights, Stevie Ward insists.
Rhinos take on Warrington Wolves at Headingley tonight in the first of three games in eight days.
They are fourth in Betfred Super League, four points behind table-topping Castleford Tigers, but Ward says they have not given up hope of claiming the league leaders’ shield.
The silverware will be handed out after round 30, at the end of the Super-8s, which gives Leeds another 16 games to overhaul the teams above them.
One more win would virtually guarantee a place in the top-eight and Ward said claiming pole position is “still a focus”.
The second-row forward stressed: “It’s a long old year, you set goals at the start of the year and you want to be up there at the top.
“You want to finish top, but there’s so much stuff that comes out each week – positives and negatives and stuff you need to work on.
“I am not too clued up about the positions and whereabouts and points of the top teams, but it is certainly still a focus for us and all we can do is just do what we are doing in each training session and each game.”
Warrington have been one of Super League’s form teams since gaining their first win of the season against Leeds last month.
Rhinos are looking to bounce back from last Sunday’s 29-18 loss to Castleford which came after the first half ended 6-6.
Ward said: “It is a good chance to get back to winning ways because we are at home and it’s quite a big game for us.
“We have got quite a lot to work on and I think a big focus for us is how we come out in the second half.
“Concentration levels need to improve and this game gives us chance to do that - it’s a weird one, but we are going to get a handle on it.
“We’re not going to be the complete picture at this early stage, but the main thing is we are competing at the top of the table.
“Cas have been the best team in the league all year, but we were there or thereabouts. There was just some silly stuff we did.
“We just seem to put pressure on teams and then let them off. It’s something that’s been a bit aggravating, we’re just not quite putting it on teams at the minute.”
Wins against Warrington, at Widnes Vikings on Monday and home to Leigh Centurions in seven days’ time would leave Rhinos in a strong position.
“We’d love to be coming out of this period with some good points, but also some good performances,” Ward said.
“It has crept up on us,I can’t believe we’re at this stage when we’re playing all these games, but we’ll get our heads down and do our jobs and we will have to show ourselves to be a champion team.”
Rhinos under-19s are in action against Warrington in a curtain-raiser kicking off at 5.30pm.