LEEDS RHINOS must put emotion to one side and concentrate on performance tonight, captain Danny McGuire says.
The visit of St Helens in the Betfred Super-8s will mark the end of Headingley’s famous South Stand, which is due to be demolished after tonight’s game.
The club are planning to make it a gala occasion, but Rhinos are clinging on to second place and, after last week’s dismal 38-6 defeat at Wakefield Trinity, McGuire said the team’s priority is playing well.
“It is going to be an emotional night and rightly so,” McGuire said.
“The South Stand is going to get a grand send off, but as players our focus is on our performance this week.
“It needs to be back up there. We were really disappointed with the performance against Wakefield and what we turned out so our focus is on making sure we are ready for a tough game against St Helens.
“While everybody is enjoying the celebrations, first and foremost we will be making sure our performance is right.”
Rhinos were beaten in all departments last week, scoring only one try and conceding six.
“We need a big improvement,” McGuire admitted.
“I don’t think we under-estimated Wakefield or showed them a lack of respect or anything, but it was just a flat performance from us.
“We were outplayed in all areas, I thought they were more physical than us and smarter with the ball.
“That’s something we are going to have to make sure doesn’t happen this week, because if that’s the same it could be something similar because Saints are a very good team.
“We have to make sure our levels get back up to where they deserve to be and need to be.”
Rhinos’ previous home game was a sparkling 32-16 win over champions Wigan Warriors and McGuire said that inconsistency is as frustrating for players as it is the fans.
“Our form has been very up and down,” he reflected.
“I don’t know if it’s a mental problem at the minute, but we need to make sure - especially over these next few weeks with some big games coming up - we nail our performance.
“That’s going to be the key this week, from one to 17 being at the top of our game.
“We are going to need that to get the win.”
Rhinos are second in the table, one point ahead of Hull who play host to Huddersfield Giants tonight.
Saints are fifth and McGuire predicted: “The challenge for them is they are coming to the South Stand send off and trying to spoil the party, as we would if we were going anywhere similar.
“They are playing really well at the minute. They are probably in the best form they have been all season so we have to make sure we perform - that’s what it’s all about for me.”