SUPER LEAGUE survival is in Leeds Rhinos’ hands and hooker Brad Dwyer says they don’t want to be left sweating after Friday night.
With one round remaining in the Betfred Qualifiers Rhinos are top of the table, two points clear of Salford Red Devils, Friday’s visitors Toronto Wolfpack and Hull KR. Salford – who play host to Toulouse Olympique tomorrow – have a better for and against, but Toronto need a 32-point win to go above Leeds and Hull KR would also need to beat Widnes Vikings by a big score on Sunday to force Rhinos out of the top three and into the million pound game.
The calculators are out, but Dwyer insisted all Rhinos are focusing on is winning Friday’s game. He said: “It is pretty complicated. I don’t think anyone’s safe at the minute. The theme for us is it has been about us, each week from the minute we got into this position just before the ‘eights’ started.
“I think it would be a shame if we didn’t go into the last game with that attitude as well and finish it off. Then we can reflect in our time off and come back eager for something bigger next year.”
Pre-season will be vital for Rhinos under new coach Dave Furner, but Dwyer stressed they still have work to do first. He added: “Friday nights at Headingley are special. I’ve only had a few tastes of it, but every time you get to play at Headingley the atmosphere’s great and it’s a special occasion.
“We’ve got a few boys we want to send off in style. I think Hally and Moony [Ryan Hall and Joel Moon] deserve a good send off, they’ve done big things at this club so we want to get the job done and then they can go off in the right way.”
Dwyer has been arguably Rhinos’ stand-out player since Kevin Sinfield returned to the club, as director of rugby, in July. Having started only two of Rhinos’ 22 games up to that point, he has been in the initial team in eight of the 11 matches since. Matt Parcell took starting duty at Halifax last weekend, but Dwyer turned the game when he came off the bench, scoring two tries in the first 10 minutes of the second half to set Leeds on course for a 34-6 win.
“There’s a lot of room for improvement with me,” Dwyer stressed. “I am struggling with a shoulder injury and my knee’s not up to scratch really.
“It has been a strange year for me and my fitness isn’t where I’d like it to be, but I am making some impact in games; that’s really good and hopefully next year I can carry it on and get my fitness where it needs to be and be a bit stronger in D [defence].
“I am enjoying it, if I am enjoying my rugby that’s normally when I play some of my best stuff. That’s a key thing for me.”
We’ve got a few boys we want to send off in style. I think Hally and Moony [Ryan Hall and Joel Moon] deserve a good send off, they’ve done big things at this club so we want to get the job done and then they can go off in the right way.Brad Dwyer
Rhinos will need to be much better this week than they were in the first half at Halifax. It was 6-6 at the break and Dwyer reflected: “Halifax played really well and I don’t think we were too far off. We defended really well, how we wanted to, but Fax stood up and got a bit of joy off a kick at the end of the first half. But I think all that happened in the second half came off the good stuff we’d done in the first.”