Leeds Rhinos yet to hit top gear - Briscoe

Tom Briscoe
Tom Briscoe
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England winger Tom Briscoe believes Leeds Rhinos can be happy with their recent form, but still aren’t firing on all cylinders.

Rhinos have won all three matches since their only defeat of the season, 14-10 at St Helens last month, scoring 148 points and conceding only 18.

They began a tough spell of three games in 10 days with a 46-6 trouncing of Bradford Bulls on Thursday night, after leading 20-0 inside 14 minutes.

Briscoe said: “It was a good start to the Easter period. It was good to get the first game out of the way and the derby as well.

“I thought our good start to the game kind of hindered us and put us on the back foot a bit. We went away from what was working for us and then it got into a bit of an arm wrestle.

“But I thought we toughed it out really well and came away with a good win and two points. The calibre of player we’ve got at this club speaks for itself.

“We know we can score points from anywhere with the strike we’ve got on the field. We just need to put it together for 80 minutes and let’s see what we are capable of then.”

Briscoe’s fellow winger Ryan Hall led the way on Thursday with his second hat-trick in three games, taking his tally for the season to 11 in nine matches.

Briscoe has eight, centres Joel Moon and Kallum Watkins both crossed against Bulls to make it five and four for the year respectively and full-back Zak Hardaker and Ben Jones-Bishop, the full-back/winger who missed the derby due to concussion, each have four.

“We have got a really exciting, young backline and I think that’s going really well for us,” Briscoe observed.

“I think it’s a good part of our game, but over the past few weeks our forwards have really stepped up and set a platform for us to play off.

“Not just the outside-backs, but the halves are taking the line on and it’s making everyone look good on the back of everyone’s strong carries.”

Leeds have a potent attack, but defence has been the most impressive feature of their game this year.

In 10 competitive matches – all against top-flight opposition – they have conceded just 84 points and St Helens are the only team to have scored more than two tries against them this term.

Leeds have conceded six points in each of their last three matches and Briscoe reflected: “That speaks for itself about how good our defence is going.

“That is one thing we are looking to build our performances on and long may that continue to keep getting us two points.

“I think if we can keep the opposition to six points we would back our attack to score more than that against anybody.”

Next up for Rhinos is a home clash with big-spending Salford Red Devils on Monday afternoon (3pm).

Briscoe said: “With the quality of player they have signed it was only a matter of time before they gelled and started to become a good team.

“It will be another tough game for us, we know that and backing up is another tough ask for us mentally, but as a squad we are really looking forward to that.

“Playing two games over Easter is tough, but it’s there and complaining about it is not going to get us anywhere, so we might as well just take it in our stride and get on with it.”

Harry Newman.

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