MILESTONE MAN Brett Delaney says there are “no excuses” for Leeds Rhinos coming up short against Widnes Vikings tomorrow.
The Betfred Super League round three fixture comes just nine days after Rhinos suffered a bruising 38-4 defeat at Melbourne Storm in the World Club Challenge.
Most of Rhinos’ players completed the 21,000 mile round trip in just 10 days and some of their squad only arrived back in England on Monday.
With little time to lick their wounds, jetlag and a series of injuries suffered last week could have a major bearing on Rhinos’ chances of picking up a first win away to Widnes since 2014.
But Delaney – who is poised to make his 200th appearance for Rhinos – insisted Leeds are up for their next challenge as they bid to extend their winning start to three league matches.
“There’s no excuses,” he stressed.
“We can’t blame the travel. Most of us got back on Sunday night and we’ve been preparing for Widnes.
“We have got to pick ourselves up and we don’t want to drop any points in Super League.
“It is a big challenge, obviously, but we have got to roll our sleeves up and get on with it.”
The 32-year-old Australian forward reckons the experience of their world title tie – and the build-up to it – will stand the champions in good stead.
Rhinos had three training sessions in Melbourne and matched the NRL champions for much of the first half, before injuries to key players took their toll.
“We can take last week into the rest of the season,” Delaney said.
“We had to deal with the travel and a six-day turnaround and Melbourne are a class act.
“The scoreline was a bit disappointing, but I don’t think that reflected the game.
“We put our bodies on the line and we will take some positives from that.
“We will pick ourselves up and get on with it.
“The good thing about rugby league is there’s only a week between games and we’ve got chance to put last week to rest against Widnes.
“We can’t just go into our shell now, we are back into Super League and we are two [wins] from two.
“We want to go there and make it three from three.”
If selected, tomorrow’s game will see Delaney become only the 10th overseas player to make 200 appearances for Leeds.
He joined Rhinos from Gold Coast Titans ahead of the 2010 season and has played in Leeds’ three competitive games this year.
In his nine seasons at Headingley he has won three Super League Grand Finals, two Challenge Cups, a World Club Challenge and a league leaders’ shield.
Meanwhile, Rhinos’ under-16s face Huddersfield Giants at Stanningley today (noon).
Prop Harry Georgiou scored a brace of tries for Leeds’ under-19s in a 32-10 win over Bradford Bulls.
Harvey Whiteley, Tyler Dupree, Ben Markland and Harry Newman also crossed and Harry Spence and Cameron Smith both kicked two goals.