THEY ARE in a poor run, but forward Josh Walters says he is confident Leeds Rhinos can turn things around.
Rhinos have won only three of their last eight Betfred Super League fixtures and the 33-22 home loss to Warrington Wolves three days ago was the most points they have conceded in the competition this season.
Leeds are in danger of missing out on a top-four place – and an extra home game in the Super-8s – when the regular season ends.
They are now a massive nine points behind leaders St Helens, but Walters reckons the fact they are being competitive without playing well is a positive sign.
“We were nowhere near our best [last Friday], but we’re not getting battered,” he said.
“On another day we could have managed that game better and done a few things better and got the win, still without it being the best performance.
Josh WaltersWe will get there, it is a long season. Every season every team goes through a run of disappointing results.
“We will get there, it is a long season. Every season every team goes through a run of disappointing results.
“We are confident we are going to fix it up and we will fix it up this week.”
Rhinos led by 11 points going into the final 20 minutes against Warrington. They also let a second half lead slip in the recent defeats to Wigan Warriors and Hull, but Walters believes their game management will improve as the season goes on.
“Moony [Joel Moon] is maybe not used to playing in the halves and Dicky [Richie Myler] is new to the team,” he said.
“They are doing a good job, but I think the defence needs to get better.
“You can’t concede 33 points and expect to turn a good team like Warrington over.”
Leeds had been 10 points down early on and Walters said that is “a bit of a recurring theme” .
He added: “You can’t be off the pace for too long in a game, it makes it too hard.
“It is a team game and it’s not good enough from everyone.
“We gave ourselves a lot of work to do.
“Warrington are a very good side and we did well to get back in it, but then we threw it away again”
After their poor start, Rhinos showed – in the 20 minutes immediately after half-time – what they are capable of when their attack comes together, putting Warrington under heavy pressure and scoring three tries to go from seven points behind to 11 ahead.
At that stage they looked likely winners, but a mistake from the restart following what proved to be Leeds’ final touchdown let Warrington back in the game and they were on top throughout the final quarter.
“You can’t really prepare for what we do,” said Walters.
“We train and we know we can play off the cuff and we are good at playing off the cuff.
“Sometimes it doesn’t work out and that’s what happened for too long [last Friday], but when we get it right, we get it right and it is undefendable at times. The tries we scored [against Warrington] were really good.”
Rhinos face a Ladbrokes Challenge Cup sixth round tie at Widnes Vikings in four days’ time – a ground they have not won on since June, 2014 and where they were crushed 23-6 in March.
Walters said: “It is a Cup game and we want to win the Challenge Cup. We want to win everything. We have got to win and we know Widnes is a tough place to go.
“We haven’t had the best results there over the past few seasons, but we’re going to put the hard work in this week.
“We will get back into training and review [last week’s] game and whatever we can do, we will get on the training pitch and fix it up for this week.”
The Warrington game was Walters’ first for Leeds since a try scoring appearance in a win at Wakefield Trinity on April 8, though he did play on dual-registration for Featherstone Rovers in a big victory against Featherstone Rovers eight days ago.
“It was good to be back,” he said. “But you want to come in and win and we couldn’t do that. The good thing is we’ve got a big game this week, we are raring to go and we can’t wait to get back out there.”