St Helens v Leeds Rhinos: Let’s start where we left off at Salford, urges Trent Merrin
LEEDS RHINOS tonight face yet another huge away challenge and marquee signing Trent Merrin says they must pick up from where they left off five days ago.
Rhinos’ fourth successive road trip takes them to 2018 league leaders St Helens, but confidence is high from last Sunday’s 46-14 thrashing of Salford Red Devils.
Before that Leeds lost at last year’s Challenge Cup and Grand Final runners-up Warrington Wolves and away to champions Wigan Warriors and Merrin knows they will have to be good to get anything from tonight.
“At the start of the year we’ve played the top teams and that’s what you want to do, you want to test yourselves against the best,” Merrin insisted.
“Saints are definitely one of those teams so it’s one I am definitely looking forward to. Getting a win last week, especially our first win for the year, we will get some confidence from that, but it is just a building block.
“We know the standard we can play at, it is just about finding that each week now and being consistent and taking it as far as we can and we will build off that.”
Of Saints, the Australian former Test forward said: “I know their coach and a few of their players.
“I was at the [St George-Illawarra] Dragons with him when Justin [Holbrook, Saints’ coach] was there.
“I know how passionate he is. He loves his rugby league and he loves to win. I expect he will be pumping the boys up to get them ready for this game.
“They have been a top team for the last few years and they hang in there for the whole game. They’ve got strike all across the field so we’ve done our homework on them, but our main focus is just on us
“We just need to carry on from where we left off last weekend.”
Merrin was outstanding in the victory at AJ Bell Stadium and already feels at home in Betfred Super League.
He said: “It has let me play the style of footy I enjoy playing, a bit off the cuff and being able to play a bit of second phase footy. Last weekend was great, getting the win and having that free range to play my style. I will build off that.
“It is great, especially getting our first win, nothing beats winning.
“The mood’s good, the atmosphere’s outstanding at all games I’ve played at now and I am expecting the same this weekend. It has been everything I expected it to be.”
Merrin started at prop in Rhinos’ opening two games, but switched to loose-forward against Salford.
“It doesn’t really bother me, just being out on the field – at those crucial times – is what I like,” he added.
“I like it when a bit of second phase opens up, when the game gets into an arm wrestle.
“Anywhere in the middle you still do the same job so I am not too fussed what position I am put in.”
With three competitive games under their belt Merrin reckons Rhinos’ combinations are beginning to come together
“Most definitely,” he said. “We’re seeing a bit more composure in our halves and in the squad and we’re getting to the points we want to get to.
“After the weekend we are getting that confidence now with seeing results come off the back of it. We will just keep building.”