FRONT-ROWER BRAD Singleton was neither surprised nor dismayed by what happened in today’s Downer World Club Challenge.
Singleton admitted Rhinos knew what Melbourne Storm would do, but preventing it was a different matter.
Though Rhinos were beaten 38-4 by the NRL champions, Singleton is confident they will take positives from the game and their week in Australia and can use it as the foundation for another strong domestic campaign.
Rhinos began well, taking an early lead, but Storm went on to dominate the contest, running in seven tries in a clinical display.
Leeds’ errors left them with too much defending to do and weight of pressure told, leaving the visitors to reflect on a third defeat in four meetings with Melbourne.
“It was as expected,” Singleton said of today’s clash of the champions at AAMI Park.
“We were up against a side who are very efficient in what they do – in attack and defence.
“I think we managed it for the first 20 minutes, but then we lost respect for the ball.
“You can’t do that against a side of that standard and it took its toll on the middles in the end because of how much defence we had to do.”
The Rhinos prop insisted Rhinos can take some positives from their battling efffort, despite the hefty scoreline against them.
“Ultimately I am not too disheartened by it,” he stated.
“In the end we were down to no subs, we lost two players in the first half and I think we can hold our heads high and be proud of what we did there.”
Rhinos’ squad will begin the long journey back to England tomorrow and resume Betfred Super League action at Widnes Vikings in eight days’ time.
They will need to quickly get over the world title defeat, but Singeton stressed:
“I don’t think that will be an issue.
“I think we can kick on from here.
“It is good to be tested at the higher end of the scale.
“For me, I think it will be a catalyst for what we want to do this year.
“There’s no point using anything as an excuse.
“We have got a job to do against Widnes and it doesn’t matter about the travelling or how long we’ve got to prepare, we will be looking for the two points.”
Singleton reckons Rhinos have been taught a valuable – if painful – lesson.
“To be the best you have to play the best and beat the best,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t beat the best – but we have learned a lesson about how to grind a team down.
“They were very clinical.”
Leeds did have spells of pressure, but could not break through Storm’s impressive defence.
“There’s just no room,” Singleton said.
“I think in parts Super League is like that, but it’s not for 80 minutes.
“The main difference is they are playing at that standard every week and – no disrespect to Super League – we’re not.
“There is a big difference in intensity.
“I don’t think the quality of the players is that different, it is just the standard of the game.”