FULL-BACK Ashton Golding says improving Leeds Rhinos are out to give a “true reflection” of themselves against derby rivals Castleford Tigers at Magic Weekend.
Leeds face the Super League leaders on Sunday evening in the final act of the Newcastle jamboree with many people feeling it will be the best game of the entire bonanza.
Admittedly, the last time they met Rhinos were embarrassed 66-10 at Wheldon Road in March but Brian McDermott’s side have clearly improved since then and are now just two points adrift of the front-runners.
Free-flowing Castleford are being tipped by some to win their first-ever league title in 2017 but Golding insists they do not owe any sort of revenge.
“I understand why people say that – it was a dramatic scoreline – but I don’t think we need to react two months later.
“Our reaction was the week after with the performance we put in against Catalans,” he said.
“That put that to bed. We didn’t reflect ourselves that night but we will be looking to give a true reflection of ourselves this week.
“We understand Castleford are very good and they’re well aware of what we can do so it’s going to be a great game.
“Cas are a great team and have been for a long time, but things have just not gone their way when it comes to trophies.
“They’re looking to do something special this year but so are we and we have our own thing going on.
It’s going to be a great game and I can see why people are hyping it up as one of the games of the Magic Weekend.Leeds Rhinos’ Ashton Golding
“I’m quietly confident with what we have going on.
“We have some outstanding players who are all just willing to do the hard graft for everyone.
“It’s going to be a great game and I can see why people are hyping it up as one of the games of the Magic Weekend.
“But I just think we have to keep focused, stay grounded understand the challenge in front of us and we can build from that.”
Rhinos have won four of their last five games including a 72-10 rout of Barrow Raiders on Sunday to set up a Challenge Cup quarter-final with Featherstone Rovers. Indeed, depending on other results, they could draw level with Castleford at the top of the table with another victory which could apply some pressure on Daryl Powell’s side.
But Golding said: “We’ll see when and if that happens.
“It’s quite early to be thinking about placements in the league. Psychologically I’m not sure if that would have an effect; if we came out on top, I think Castleford will be well aware of their abilities to climb that table again and likewise we do too.”
Golding, 20, has thrived this term after being given his chance to make the No1 jersey his own following Zak Hardaker’s switch, ironically, to Castleford on a season-long loan.
He said: “People say I’ve massively improved but I guess I was just missing that belief in myself. It’s one of those where the lads have got around me and helped me along. It’s been a great team environment to play in and I’m enjoying it.
“We all know I think really highly of Zak; he’s a great player and in contention for Man of Steel again which is great.
“He taught me my trade and is a good bloke. I know he injured his ankle on Saturday but I actually hope he is fit and playing. You don’t want to see him miss any games. You want to go up against the best players.”