Nervous times but destiny is in Leeds Rhinos' hands, says departing Hall
ENGLAND winger Ryan Hall says he is determined to ensure Leeds Rhinos are still a Super League club when he leaves at the end of this season.
Hall, 30, will join Australian side Sydney Roosters in 2019 on a two-year contract.
Before then Leeds are facing a second relegation battle in three seasons in the middle-eights Qualifiers and Hall said helping them avoid the drop is his first priority before he begins preparing for his new career Down Under.
Hall was a member of the Rhinos team that topped the Qualifiers table in 2016, having won six of their seven games, and so knows what they are in for over the final two months of the season.
“It is a nervous time,” admitted Hall. “It is going to be tough. It was tough last time we were in it [the Qualifiers] – there was a Championship-club promoted and a Super League one relegated, but our destiny is in our own hands and we have to make sure we take full advantage of that.”
Leeds’s place in Super League’s bottom four was confirmed last weekend when the three teams they could have overhauled, Huddersfield Giants, Catalans Dragons and Wakefield Trinity, all won.
Huddersfield were shock victors at Castleford Tigers and Trinity embarrassed Hull 72-10, but Hall insisted Leeds have only themselves to blame for their current plight.
“As soon as you start relying on other teams to do you favours it’s not a position you want to be in,” Hall said.
“You want to be in control of your own destiny and we haven’t been good enough to get that control.
“It was desperate, we needed Huddersfield and Wakefield both to lose and they both produced good wins. It is something we’ve got to live with.”
Rhinos had gone nine league games without a win before their 34-0 shut-out of Widnes Vikings last Friday. This was their first victory under the new management team of director of rugby Kevin Sinfield and first-team coach James Lowes.
Reflecting on the new set-up after long-serving coach Brian McDermott was sacked, Hall said: “It should never have come to that, but gradually things slip.
“You don’t really realise it because it’s only small things, but a couple of years go by with the same things happening week-in and week-out and it all builds up on you.
“When Kev came back in he found it a bit of a shock to see what state we are in, but he is changing it around.
“We have got to get ourselves back into a position so we start next year with Super League status and can then attack that competition.”
Hall confirmed he signed for Roosters after Sinfield was appointed and stressed: “The position Rhinos are in had no bearing on me leaving at all.
“We could have been in St Helens’ position – 10 points clear and in a Challenge Cup semi and looking really good – and I would still have chosen to leave.”
Hall will be 31 when he makes his Roosters debut, but insisted: “I am not going there for a holiday. People might say I am because I’m getting on a bit, but I am going to try and achieve something over there.
“The Roosters are looking really good this year. They are in a decent position in the league and they’ve got a good squad, so there’s a possibility they might come out on top this year, but I am going to concentrate on Leeds first and then go from there.”