PROP DOM Crosby has a dual aim for the next four games - to help keep Leeds Rhinos in Betfred Super League and earn a contract.
Crosby joined Rhinos on loan from Warrington Wolves in July and is set to return from a two-match ban when they visit Widnes Vikings tomorrow.
The immediate concern is securing a win which will edge Rhinos closer to Super League safety, but Crosby is hoping he can play well enough in the final games of the season to secure a longer-term deal.
Crosby was suspended, missing a win at London Broncos and home defeat by Hull KR, for separate incidents in Rhinos’ opening Qualifiers success against Toulouse and said he is raring to go.
“It has been tough watching the lads, especially with last Saturday’s result,” he admitted.
“I can’t wait to get back on the field and make up for lost time. My aim when I first arrived at the club was to make an impression and I thought I was slowly getting there. It [being banned] was just a bit unfortunate, but that’s rugby league. I’ve been working hard in training this week, as all the boys have and I am itching to get back out there.”
Crosby described the past few weeks, since the Toulouse game, as “pretty frustrating”, adding: “I take things pretty personal and I don’t like watching. I get more nervous watching than I do playing. It has been pretty tough, but we know we are a better team than we’ve been performing like. We’ve had a good week’s training and hopefully we’ll get a good result on Sunday.”
Crosby insisted results and performances on the playing field do not reflect the hard work being put in during the week.
“I’ve only been here a few weeks, but the training is unbelievable,” said the former Wigan Warriors man. “It is intense and the lads are working hard. You can’t ask any more from the lads when they’re in training.
“It’s just not coming off which is the most frustrating part. We know we are a good team, it’s just fixing up a few little things and getting that complete performance.
“That is what we are working towards. We know it’s going to take time because it’s new coaches and new systems and new personnel. We are under no illusions, but if we can keep improving week on week we will get there.”
Widnes are the only top-flight team in poorer form than Rhinos, having lost their last 16 games.
No top-flight club has been relegated automatically at the end of the Qualifiers - without losing in the million pound game - but Widnes are four points adrift of fifth place with only four rounds left.
Crosby, though, stressed: “You can’t underestimate Widnes.
It’s just not coming off which is the most frustrating part. We know we are a good team, it’s just fixing up a few little things and getting that complete performance.Leeds Rhinos’ Dom Crosby
“They are a top-quality side, I know results haven’t gone their way, but they will come fighting this week and they’ll be desperate to get the win.
“It will be a tough day at the office, but hopefully we can match them and put in a performance that’ll go a long way to winning the game.
“Widnes are going to play their best against Leeds and we have prepared for that.”
The loss to Hull KR piled pressure on Rhinos, who remain second in the table, but are among a quartet of teams on four points. They could probably afford to lose one more game and still finish in the top-three, therefore avoiding the lottery of the million pound game, but with on-song Salford next up defeat tonight would be potentially catastrophic.
“Our aim is to win all games, but it has not gone that way,” Crosby added.
“Our aim is to win every game from now on, but we are taking it week by week.
“We want to improve on the areas we’ve identified in review and we’ve been working on that this week.
“As a team we need to be better in certain areas which we’ve identified. Hopefully, we can put the wrongs right and put in a complete performance.”
Meanwhile, Crosby revealed his future beyond this season has yet to be decided.
He said: “I am just grateful to be at a club like Leeds and when given the opportunity I will try my best to hopefully represent that shirt with pride. I will take it week by week and hopefully I can earn something off the back of it.
“I feel like I’ve not played my best rugby yet as a professional and I think Leeds Rhinos is the club for me so I will do everything in my power to get a contract here.”