LEEDS RHINOS need to stick to their guns and they will come good.
That’s the message from hooker Brad Dwyer ahead of tomorrow’s “tough challenge” at champions Wigan Warriors in Betfred Super League round two.
Both teams began the season with a loss and, even at this early stage, will be desperate to start picking up points before they get cut too far adrift of the leading pack.
Dwyer is Wigan born, but hasn’t spent much time focusing on them in the build up to tomorrow.
“It is going to be a tough challenge, but I think it is more about ourselves at the moment,” he stated.
“It’s the start of the season and we’ve got a new coach, new environment and new systems so I think the main focus for us is to keep working on what we want to deliver and the stuff Dave [Furner] is trying to implement.
The main focus for us is to keep working on what we want to deliver and the stuff Dave [Furner] is trying to implement.Brad Dwyer
“We want to try and get disciplined with that and throw as much as possible of what we’ve been practicing at Wigan and see what we come up with.”
Dwyer felt Leeds’ performance last week was more disappointing than the result.
Rhinos have been training well, but failed to put that into practice and Dwyer said: “There’s stuff we’ve been working on all pre-season and we’ve not really delivered that.
“We have just got to put that behind us now.
“We’ve got a big challenge and it’s about getting back to what we’ve been practising in training and then seeing how we fare against a team like Wigan and I am sure we will be in a better place next week.”
Rhinos started well against Warrington, who were twice reduced to 12 men, but failed to sustain pressure on the opposition and that is one key area they need to be much better at.
Dwyer said: “That goes in any game and I think a lot of it comes from our D [defence]. I think we were a bit erratic with ball in hand because of how much pressure we allowed Warrington to put on us with the speed of the ruck.
“Unless we speed that up I think a lot of systems and things we’ve put in place we will be struggling with.”
Since a last-gasp one-point home defeat to Wigan last April, in a game they dominated for 80 minutes, Rhinos have won only five out of 20 meetings with Super League opposition in all competitions.
They had expected to at least push Warrington close last week, but Dwyer stressed everyone in the camp believes they are heading in the right direction and doing what is needed to start producing results.
“This is only round two so it’s early doors, but it is about us as players,” he insisted. “If we were doing what we’ve been told in training and it’s not working we’d have to change it, but what we’ve been doing in training we’re not doing on the field.
“That’s our job, it’s why we get paid and we’ve got to do that this week.”
Wigan were beaten at St Helens last week and are on minus two points after being punished for a breach of the salary cap in 2017. They are also adjusting to a new coach, Adrian Lam, and a change of playing personnel and Dwyer said: “Everyone’s in the same boat.
“I would imagine they will be looking at just trying to get some systems in place and getting some confidence going and getting on a roll, just like us.
“We’ve had a good look at them, it is a short turnaround, but we’re mainly looking at what we can improve on and how the stuff we are going to do can affect Wigan and how we can exploit that.”
A 46-8 drubbing at DW Stadium last June brought the curtain down on Brian McDermott’s time as Leeds coach.
Rhinos have not won there since 2013, but Dwyer said: “There’s no better time [to end that run].
“It will be a big game, Wigan-Leeds always is.
“Hopefully we go there and produce our best and we’ll see what happens with the result after that.”
Dwyer was the final Leeds substitute used last week and got only limited game time, but the tempo did lift with him on the pitch.
“Personally I was happy with what I did, but the game had more or less gone when I got on the field,” he reflected.
“I feel like at the back end of last year I played some good rugby and in the friendlies when I had my shot and in training I’ve been doing that.
“Early doors it is about me being patient and pushing Matt [Parcell] for that nine spot.”