A FOUR-GAME losing run will only make Wakefield Trinity more dangerous in tomorrow’s huge derby, Leeds Rhinos’ veteran forward Carl Ablett reckons.
Ablett says Rhinos are in a “good place” ahead of the trip to the Mobile Rocket Stadium, Belle Vue, but is wary of what they will face.
Though Trinity, who won their opening four games, have faded to seventh in Betfred Super League, Ablett rates tomorrow as one of Rhinos’ toughest challenges.
“Even in those defeats they have been good,” said the second-rower, who was in the Leeds team thrashed 38-6 at Wakefield in last year’s Super-8s.
“On Monday at Hull they lost by a point and they changed their squad around a bit. They are definitely competing and they play a decent way as well.
“I think [coach] Chris Chester has done a great job, they have a big pack and smart halves in there who are really performing.
“They always perform when we go there so it is important we rock up with the right attitude and formulate a game plan that can trouble them.”
Despite an early-season injury crisis, Leeds have lost only two of their opening eight games and began the weekend in fourth spot.
“We always focus on performance and tend to not look at the table yet,” Ablett insisted.
“We feel like we are in a good place and we are performing well.
“You can see some of our attack is coming and some of the combinations are starting to gel and defensively, to nil Salford on Monday was a good effort. There’s some encouraging signs. The injuries have given some opportunities and game time to young fellas who have really taken it – Cam [Smith], Mikolaj [Oledzki] and Walts [Josh Walters] were awesome on Monday.
“That bodes well for the squad and when we get a few more back that competition and the standards are going to rise.
“We’re disappointed we dropped a point at Huddersfield, it was a game we could possibly have won, but we have got to be happy with where we are at and our performances.”
Tomorrow will be Rhinos’ third game in 10 days and Trinity’s third in 11.
Ablett knows the third game of the Easter period is often the toughest.
“Obviously we know it’s there so we prepare for it mentally as well as physically,” he said.
“You put so much emphasis on recovering from Friday to Monday you tend to get that Monday game over with and then relax a bit. I think it’s important you try to get those two games out of your system, but we need to be ready to perform on Sunday because it is going to be a good test for us.”
Meanwhile, stand-off Jacob Miller has given Trinity a boost by signing a new long-term contract, to the end of 2022.
Miller joined Wakefield from Hull three years ago and has scored 35 tries in 92 appearances. He said: “The club has come such a long way since I first signed here and it is nice to feel a part of something that is building towards something new.”
Chester was “delighted” by Miller’s new deal.
“He is an outstanding player who still has a long career ahead of him,” he said.
“I have enjoyed seeing him grow and develop as a player over the past couple of seasons and I look forward to working with him in the future.”
LEEDS RHINOS under-19s are away to Newcastle Thunder tomorrow (12.30pm).