Let's follow St Helens' lead says Leeds Rhinos veteran

Leeds Rhinos need to take a leaf out of champions St Helens’ book, according to fit-again winger Tom Briscoe.

Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 6:00 am
Tom Briscoe touches down against Wigan. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

The two giants’ form has gone in opposite directions either side of Betfred Super League’s coronavirus shutdown.

Saints were struggling before the lay-off, but have looked unstoppable since, while the reverse has been the case for Leeds who were crushed 48-0 when the teams met earlier this month.

Briscoe reckons a combination of factors have contributed to Rhinos’ successive defeats - by Saints and Wigan Warriors - and warned they must come to terms with a new style of rugby league.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Tom Biscoe celebrates after scoring against Wigan. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

“The game has changed massively,” he reflected.

“We, unfortunately, have just taken a few games to get into that new style of play.

“We have seen Saints doing very well at the minute, scoring some great tries and putting in some good performances.

“I think we have got to take a bit of a leaf out of their book and play fast and straight and then take your chances when you get them.

Tom Briscoe and St Helens' Tommy Makinson compete for possession. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

“The ball is in play a lot longer now, the game is faster, the bodies are more tired so it is just about exploiting your chances when you can get them.”

Rhinos went top of Super League following an extra-time win over Huddersfield Giants in their first game following the restart, but have since slipped to sixth.

“Throughout the last couple of games we have shown glimpses,” Briscoe insisted.

“But when it has got a bit tough we have kind of gone away from what was working for us.

“It has not been good enough for long enough and, especially against Saints, that costs you massively.”

Saturday’s meeting with Salford Red Devils, at Warrington, will come 13 days after Rhinos’ previous match, a 28-10 defeat by Wigan.

That gap between games has given them time to put things right, and Briscoe stressed: “Obviously the [Saints] game wasn’t good. There were a few areas improved [against Wigan], but nowhere near good enough. We know we need to be on top of everything this week, I think more just for our confidence.

“We don’t want too many [poor] performances otherwise it is a downward spiral and tough to get out of. We know we need to change things about.

“We have had two weeks to prepare for this so there’s no excuses this week.”

The clash with Saints on August 9 ended a 53-week lay-off for Briscoe who suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury on August 2 last year.

He also played the full 80 minutes against Wigan the following weekend - scoring his first try since the injury - and confirmed there have been no ill-effects, physical or mental, from his long spell on the sidelines.

“The results aside, for me personally to come through those games after so long out, it has been good,” he said. “Physically I am feeling good, so it’s all positive on the injury side of things.

“The knee is fine, it has come through with no problems and just feels normal now, so that’s a good sign.”

His initial involvements were an obstacle Briscoe had to overcome.

He said: “The first game, to get the first run and tackle and bit of full speed into my knee, you are kind of hesitant until that point but then you get over it pretty quick and just settle back into the game.” The try against Wigan was awarded despite Briscoe putting a foot on the touchline before he got the ball down.

He admitted: “Obviously I was a bit lucky to get it, but it’s in the stats so nice to get over.

“I didn’t know [his foot was in touch] - I got my awareness a bit wrong, but I will take that on board for next time and make sure I am in [play].”

A message from the Editor:

Leeds has a fantastic story to tell - and the Yorkshire Evening Post has been rooted firmly at the heart of telling the stories of our city since 1890. We believe in ourselves and hope you believe in us too. We need your support to help ensure we can continue to be at the heart of life in Leeds. https://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/why-yorkshire-evening-post-needs-your-support-laura-collins-yep-editor-2913382

Subscribe to our website and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe. For more details on our newspaper subscription offers click here.

Thank you

Laura Collins