LEEDS RHINOS have been warned they need to be “close to perfect” to beat Warrington Wolves tonight.
Betfred Super League round 14 is set to be a crucial weekend in the top-four race with fifth playing third tonight, before fourth-placed Castleford Tigers visit Hull - who are sixth - tomorrow.
Leeds won 16-12 at Warrington in the opening game of the season, but eight successive victories have made tonight’s revitalised opponents the form team in the competition.
“They are hitting their straps now and it’s going to be a tough game,” Rhinos half-back Richie Myler said. “We weren’t too far off in the game against Hull KR and we got the two points, which is important.
“There’s parts of our game we are still working hard at and we know we will have to be close to a perfect game this week and we’ll have to work hard for one another. That’s the big key.”
Rhinos’ attack has stuttered in recent matches, but an outstanding defensive display secured a 20-18 victory five days ago.
Myler described Leeds’ defence against Hull KR as “tremendous” and predicted they will have to maintain that standard to end Warrington’s hot streak.
“Our goalline D [defence] was good, we just did too much of it,” he admitted.
“If we can not do as much we will have a bit more energy at certain times in the game. You can’t knock our goalline defence, it was incredible against Hull KR and everyone’s working hard for each other.
“A lot of it’s just attitude and energy, I think that’s a big factor in our game at the minute.”
Myler is confident Leeds’ attack will improve if they get more of the ball.
“A lot of it’s down to lacking energy,” he said of their attacking problems. “We need to hold the ball and not let the opposition team have cheap field position and put them under pressure.
“If we can grind that out and win the arm wrestle a bit more we will have more chance to put on more attacking plays. You can see once we get in the right places and throw the right shapes we are effective.”
Myler played 145 games for Warrington from 2010 to 2015.
There’s parts of our game we are still working hard at and we know we will have to be close to a perfect game this week and we’ll have to work hard for one another.Leeds Rhinos’ Richie Myler
Of his former team, he said: “They have been good, they are playing really well and they are full of confidence.
“It is going to be a tough, tough game and it should be a good spectacle I think.”
Four points separates the sides from third to sixth and a defeat this evening would leave Rhinos playing catch-up in the race to secure four home games in the Super-8s.
“The two back-to-back losses by a point were disappointing,” Myler said of Leeds’ recent form. “We are not doing too badly, but we’d like to be a bit higher up.
“If we can turn those close ones around in our favour and make life a bit easier for ourselves we will be going in the right direction.
“If we are a bit smarter and a bit more clinical we will make life a bit easier. We are getting a few bodies back, which is good and we are looking to kick on now.”
Meanwhile, despite Wolves’ eight-game winning run, Leeds-born centre Ryan Atkins insists they are “not getting too carried away with ourselves”.
He said: “We are all training and playing with smiles on our faces and we just need to keep knocking those wins off.
“Having been over here for so long, playing Leeds is not as big a deal now. I try to take it as a normal game.
“We’ve come a long way since round one in our defence and attack. Headingley is always a tough ask and the way you play there is a good way to gauge where you are as a team.
“Leeds can score tries from anywhere and have great defence. We will be going there with confidence, but it will be a tough ask.
“Richie Myler is playing some great rugby league, but we will go there and focus on ourselves.”