St Helens v Leeds Rhinos: We're playing play-offs rugby already says Richie Myler as Super League top-six race goes to the wire
Fifth-placed Leeds Rhinos are playing play-offs rugby already, Richie Myler says.
With two games left in the regular season, Rhinos could still finish as high as fourth in Betfred Super League, or drop out of the top-six altogether.
A win at second-placed St Helens tonight would seal a place in the play-offs.
But if they lose, Rhinos will need to beat top-six rivals Hull KR next Friday, or hope other results go their way.
The season has boiled up into a grandstand finish and Myler warned: “Every team we play has something to play for.”
The full-back said: “St Helens want to go into the play-offs in form and Hull KR are chomping at the bit to get into the play-offs.
“The next two games are play-off games in our eyes, there’s no more chances to get it right.
“St Helens is a tough place to go and win, but we are feeling pretty confident.
“We have got quite a confident bunch of players who’ve been through all sorts of emotions this year and had all sorts of things thrown at us.
“That sometimes galvanises a group and I think that’s what you saw last week.”
Leeds dramatic extra-time defeat of Hull at Magic Weekend salvaged their season and boosted morale for tonight.
“I think we’re in a good spot,” Myler insisted.
“We are feeling confident and feeling good about our performances.
“Two wins could put us in a nice top-four position, but we’re not looking any further than this week, really.”
Myler added: “Saints narrowly lost against Catalans last week in a hard-fought game so they’ll be wanting to get back to winning ways.
“They are a quality team and they’ll want to put it right, so it’s going to be a big game, but they all are from now until the end of the season.
“They are all play-offs-syle rugby now.
“It feels like we’ve been playing forever, but there’s only two league games left and we are aware if results go the opposite way and we come unstuck, we could easily fall out of the play-offs.
“I think it’s evenly contested across the fourth-seventh places and we want to put our best foot forward this week.”
Myler reckons Rhinos will need to show similar qualities tonight to six days ago, when they hit back from eight points down and controlled the final stages of a frantic contest.
“We’ve got that wrong a few times in the past, how we’ve closed games out,” he admitted.
“I think we’ve learned how to manage that.
“Obviously it was a very close game which could have gone either way - I have been on the wrong end of [Marc] Sneyd nailing 45-50 metre drop goals before, but it was credit to how we defended seven-tackle sets and restricted their metres and our boys’ effort to charge down kicks.
“I thought that was phenomenal really and then to still keep playing when we had the ball, we didn’t shut up shop.
“When you are the team that comes from behind going into extra-time, I think you’ve got the momentum and we rode that wave really well.”
Myler attacked in the halves last week and defended at full-back, alternating with Jack Broadbent.
“I thought Jack [played one of the best games I’ve seen him play,” Myler said of the 20-year-old.
“His energy and the enthusiasm he brought was terrific.
“He epitomised that when he scored his try.
“Across the board we worked really hard, we knew - even though we were behind - we were doing well.
“We knew we’d gifted them a couple of opportunities, but we knew we were in the game and we’d come home strong and luckily we did.”
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