Magic date with Hull is huge game for Leeds Rhinos, admits Tom Briscoe
IT’S ALWAYS a big game when Leeds play Hull, but tomorrow’s third meeting of the season has extra importance, Rhinos back Tom Briscoe says.
With three rounds remaining, Leeds are fifth in Betfred Super League, two places above Hull and both sides’ play-off hopes are hanging in the balance.
Added to that, the fixture closes the opening day of the Dacia Magic Weekend, which is one of the prime slots in the Super League calendar.
Briscoe, who joined Rhinos from the Black and Whites ahead of the 2014 season and has been on both sides of the fence, warned: “Our games against Hull are always tough.”
Both teams have won on the other’s ground this year and Briscoe said: “They are a big side and we know without all the added pressure of the play-offs and coming into the business end of the season, it is always a big game to play Hull.
“Then, as well, it’s at Magic, at Newcastle. It is all building up to be a pretty big game.
“We know how important it is and what we need to do going into the rest of the season to make the play-offs, but the good thing is it’s in our hands.
“We are not relying on other results, we know if we put our best performances in and get the wins, we have no doubt we are in there.”
This weekend is Magic’s fifth visit to Newcastle and Rhinos have lost each of their previous games at St James’s Park.
“We broke our losing run at Wigan last week,” Briscoe pointed out.
“Hopefully we can do it again this week.”
He added: “I love playing at Magic Weekend, wherever it is.
“It is something different, big stadiums and hopefully we can get a decent crowd in.
“We are the last game on Saturday and hopefully the fans stick around and it’s a really big crowd and a really good atmosphere for it.”
Rhinos could have virtually secured a top-six finish with a victory at Wakefield Trinity on Monday, but the opportunity slipped through their fingers as Trinity won 20-13.
However, the three teams immediately below them also lost so Leeds held on to their position in the table.
Rhinos’ remaining games after Magic are away to St Helens a week today and at home against Hull KR seven days later and Briscoe admitted the pressure is mounting.
“With the other results going our way we’ve not really lost too much ground on the back of the Wakefield defeat,” he observed.
“But it puts a bit more emphasis on our last two games, especially with both the Hull teams fighting to be in that last play-off position.”
Rhinos were on a three-game winning streak before the derby at Trinity, including a 14-0 success at Wigan Warriors in their previous match.
Briscoe conceded: “I am not too sure what we can put it down to, such a poor performance at Wakefield.
“It happens and it has happened and it’s just one of those we need to learn from for a big game against Hull.
“We’ll do everything we can this week to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
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