Matt Prior: Smiles are back on Leeds Rhinos faces after Super League win drought ends

There is a spring in the step of Leeds Rhinos’ players at training this week, veteran forward Matt Prior says.

After six games without a win, Rhinos were able to sing their victory song, for only the second time this season, following a 25-14 defeat of Toulouse Olympique in Betfred Super League round 10.

It was their first home success of 2022, at the seventh attempt and came 50 days after their previous win, away to Wakefield Trinity.

“It feels great,” Prior said of preparing for a game on the back of a win.

Matt Prior. Picture by Allan Mckenzie/

“It felt like we hadn’t won in so long, you almost forget the feeling.

“The boys are all buzzing to get the two points and hopefully that can spur us on to get a few more now.”

Rhinos remain second from bottom in Super League, three points clear of Toulouse.

They drew with Huddersfield Giants in their previous home game and lost by two points at Castleford Tigers on Easter Monday and Prior said: “We have been working hard for a long time.

“We’ve deserved it and we haven’t been getting the results the last few weeks, when we’ve been playing all right.

“It’s good to see everyone happy and a smile on everyone’s face.

“A bit of pressure’s off and there’s a bit more excitement now.

“I think we were already getting a bit of confidence, we’ve been playing better each week and building.

“We’ll take a bit more [out of last week] and hopefully we can string a few more together.”

Prior was also pleased for Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who picked up his first win as interim-coach.

“He has done a great job,” said the Aussie, who is in his third season at Leeds.

“All the boys love playing for him; his time as coach has only been short, but we’ve all enjoyed what he has done and it was great to see him get the win.”

New boss Rohan Smith could arrive in England this week, but is likely to take charge for the first time when Rhinos visit Salford Red Devils on Sunday, May 15.

“I am excited, everyone I have spoken to has said he’s really good and gets the most out of his players,” Prior said.

“I am looking forward to him being here; he will have a bit of time to work with us and implement what he wants and his style.”

The concern for Rhinos this week is a lack of fit and available players for Friday’s game after Liam Sutcliffe and Tom Briscoe joined the casualty list during the Toulouse clash.

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A positive is the experience being gained by young players, including teenagers Max Simpson and Jack Sinfield.

“It’s good signs for the club, blooding these young guys early,” Prior said.

“You’ll probably see the benefits down the track, but they are playing great.

“They are 17, but you don’t notice it out there; they are handling it fine and performing and everyone’s enjoying playing with them.”