THE TIME for sulking is over.
So says Leeds Rhinos’ Aussie forward Adam Cuthbertson ahead of tonight’s Betfred Super League opener at home to Wigan Warriors.
Rhinos’ Wembley dreams were shattered in last weekend’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final, but they begin the eights in a good position to reach the title decider at Old Trafford.
All eight teams are in contention for the play-offs and Cuthbertson insisted that means Rhinos have to be switched on from the start.
“Last weekend was disappointing because we have put so much effort into getting back to where we are at the moment, playing big semi-finals,” he admitted.
“I sat inside my house for two days dwelling on it, but now it’s time to move on and worry about winning the Super League.”
Rhinos begin the Super-8s in second place and on course for a home semi-final.
Cuthbertson insisted: “We are very capable of doing it.
“The position we are in the table at the moment and the lessons we are going to take out of last weekend is going to give us a much-needed boost.
“It is going to help us push forward and we want to pick up some silverware at the end of the year, especially for our leaving players.
“I think the younger boys will be better for playing in a big game, so going forward I know we are all hungry and we have been ripping into each other at training.”
Wigan are seventh, three points outside the play-offs zone. They beat Salford in their Cup semi-final last Sunday, but Cuthbertson reckons it is “probably a bit early” for them to be distracted by the looming Wembley final.
He said: “They are down near the bottom of the Super-8s so every win counts for them. I’m sure, like every Leeds-Wigan game, it is going to be a tough one.”
Rhinos were beaten 34-0 at DW Stadium two weeks ago in the final round of the regular season.
Eleven Leeds players who missed that game could take the field tonight and Cuthbertson said: “We have a good record at home against them and they are always great matches to be part of when you play Wigan.
“We had a lot of young players when we played them last and they had quite a seasoned team.
“But you never know on the night, just like last weekend. We had beaten Hull a few times in a row, but if you don’t turn up anything can happen.”
Rhinos have responded well to defeats this year and that will give them plenty of confidence, according to Cuthbertson.
“We have prided ourselves on bouncing back and making sure we have top performances after a loss,” he pointed out.
“Unfortunately we were spurred on at the beginning of the year by the Castleford loss, but we have learned a lot during the year and especially last year.
“I think we are all better for it and come the back end of the Super-8s we will be a lot more seasoned team I think.”