Leeds Rhinos v Hull FC: Airlie Birds will need to dig deep says Kelly

Albert Kelly.
Albert Kelly.
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MAN OF the moment Albert Kelly says Hull will need to dig deep and produce a big-game performance when they square up to Leeds Rhinos tonight.

The sudden-death Super League play-off is the second time the teams have met in a semi-final this season.

Albert Kelly.

Albert Kelly.

Kelly was man-of-the-match for Hull in their Challenge Cup last-four win against Rhinos two months ago and will be one of the biggest threats to Leeds’ hopes of a 10th Grand Final appearance.

The Cup victory was Hull’s only success in their last 10 meetings with Leeds and the stand-off knows the size of the task facing the visitors tonight.

Hull finished third on the table, five points behind Rhinos and have not won away to Leeds since September, 2007.

But the East Yorkshire outfit are bidding for a league and cup double after August’s Wembley triumph against Wigan and Kelly reckons that experience will stand them in good stead.

“It’s going to be a very, very big game,” said the former Hull KR pivot who has been named in the Super League Dream team and is vying with Castleford Tigers’ Luke Gale and Zak Hardaker for the Man of Steel honour.

“We need to have a big-game performance up our sleeve. We have got the players and the leaders that can give us that extra kick and come up with that big-game performance.”

Kelly had a poor game when Hull KR lost to Leeds at Headingley in the middle-eights Qualifiers last year and he is aware Hull will be punished if they drop below their best.

He warned: “Everyone needs to step up. This game is that stepping stone to the big dance and if you don’t step up, you step down.

“Every player will be going in mentally and physically ready to perform for 80 minutes and do all the little things to get the result. That’s what a big-game performance is and it’s what we need.”