INJURED CAPTAIN Kallum Watkins says he is confident Leeds Rhinos will beat the drop.
Rhinos begin their Betfred Qualifiers campaign at home to Toulouse Olympique tomorrow, six days after a 48-12 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final thrashing by Warrington Wolves.
Watkins insists Rhinos are good enough to avoid relegation, but says the players need to take responsibility for their current plight and prove they are better than recent results suggest.
“Last weekend wasn’t great,” reflected the England centre who suffered a season-ending knee injury in May.
“It was a poor result, but that’s down to us.
“We’ve got to hold our hands up and hold ourselves accountable.
It is us as a group of players that need to get it right. We need to collectively work hard and get ourselves out of trouble.Kallum Watkins
“Credit to Warrington for getting through – and Catalans as well – but we need to put that to bed pretty quickly and focus on where we’re at now.”
Tomorrow’s visitors will be looking to cash in on Rhinos’ lack of form and confidence.
Watkins warned: “They should be confident.
“They will come here and try to do a job on us.
“We need to get it right in terms of getting the little things right.
“That’s what needs to be sorted out. We have got to do that on the field and it is down to attitude, determination and desire. We have definitely got all that, but we’re doing it in little patches and we need to do it more.
“We can’t blame anyone other than ourselves.
“It is us as a group of players that need to get it right. We need to collectively work hard and get ourselves out of trouble.
“We are into a difficult stage now.
“We know where we are and we know where we can get better. It’s down to us to get that right and it comes from hard work on the training pitch and what you do off it – and playing well on the field.
“It’s not complicated, it’s as simple as that, it’s hard work and getting ourselves prepared as best as possible to face a good Toulouse side who we need to give respect to.
“They are going to come out firing and try to do a number on us so we need to be prepared.”
Meanwhile, Watkins confirmed his recovery is on track. He underwent surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and is expected to be back on the field early next year.
He said: “It is going all right. I’m nine weeks in now, I’ve done a couple of months and it has gone pretty quick, to be fair.
“It is progressing well and the medical staff are doing a good job like they always do. I am just keeping on top of it really, but I am involved.
“I am involved with everything, I just want to be out on the field really.”
Rhinos have won only two of their 11 games in all competitions since Watkins was injured.
He admitted: “I just want to be out there and helping out the lads as much as I can and leading as best as possible.
“I have got to do that off the field. I will do that the best I can, but it is down to the boys to do it on the field.”
Rhinos under-19s beat St Helens 34-26 at Stanningley last night after the visitors hit back from 20-0 to lead 22-20.
Leeds’ try scorers were Owen Trout, Ben Maryland, Liam Hamill, Tom Holroyd, Harry Newman and Tyler Dupree.
Harvey Spence kicked four conversions and a penalty.