No concrete targets for the season ahead, admits Leeds Rhinos captain Stevie Ward

SIMPLY AVOIDING a scrap at the bottom of the table would be an improvement for Leeds Rhinos this year, but captain Stevie Ward says he isn’t setting targets for the new campaign.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 25th January 2020, 5:05 pm
Leeds Rhinos captain Stevie Ward in action against Wigan on Sunday.
Leeds Rhinos captain Stevie Ward in action against Wigan on Sunday.

Rhinos begin their Betfred Super League season at home to Hull in nine days’ time, as part of a double-header also involving Castleford Tigers against Toronto Wolfpack.

The eight-time champions have had to fight their way out of relegation danger in three of the past four seasons and finished eighth last year.

With improved form over the second half of 2019, some key signings and solid pre-season performances behind them, Rhinos could challenge for a top-five spot this term.

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Stevie Ward on the charge against Bradford Bulls.

But, speaking at the Super League launch at Emerald Headingley, Ward insisted: “I am not even looking that far.”

He said: “I am thinking about round one and the process we’ve got to do to get there.

“I am not really thinking about what the outcome could be.

“There’s something for us to work towards, but it’s more about us focusing on the process of what makes us good and being excited about the process.”

After being restricted to only six appearances last year, because of a knee injury, Ward – now the club’s longest-serving player – has featured in Rhinos’ three full-scale practice matches and got some significant game time under his belt.

“I feel good,” he reflected.

“I still want to get better, there’s things that’ll get sharper over the course of the next few weeks, personally, but it is good to be out there and managing the game and feeling my way back.”

Ward described the mood in Rhinos’ camp as “really positive”.

He said: “Everyone’s dedicated to working hard and committed to the group and to each other.

“Everyone’s happy to be working with each other and happy with everything really, the balance of hard work and stuff off the field and celebrating each other and pushing each other.

“We are enjoying each other’s company too, which is good. The team and the group of boys will be tested during the year, but we are in a good spot to go on from.”