The pressure’s on Leeds Rhinos but there’s no need for panic, insists re-signed hooker Shaun Lunt

Shaun Lunt recognises the pressure's on at Leeds Rhinos but insists there's no need to panic. PIC: Bruce Rollinson/JPIMedia
Shaun Lunt recognises the pressure's on at Leeds Rhinos but insists there's no need to panic. PIC: Bruce Rollinson/JPIMedia
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THE PRESSURE is back on, but newcomer Shaun Lunt insists Leeds Rhinos have no need to panic.

Rhinos slipped a place to 10th in Betfred Super League following last week’s 32-16 home loss to fellow strugglers Hull KR.

Featherstone's Cameron King is understood to be on Leeds Rhinos' radar. PIC: Paul Butterfield

Featherstone's Cameron King is understood to be on Leeds Rhinos' radar. PIC: Paul Butterfield

Along with Huddersfield Giants and Hull KR, they are just two points clear of bottom club London Broncos with seven rounds remaining.

Lunt, signed on loan from Rovers, made his second Leeds debut in last week’s game and is hoping for better things at home to Hull on Sunday.

“It wasn’t the start I wanted,” he admitted of the defeat by his previous club. “It was a tough game, they got a good walloping the week before against Wigan and we knew they were going to be up for it.

“The start gave ourselves too much to do, they had the ascendancy and their tails were up. It is hard to turn the tide when a team is like that so we have got a bit to work on this week, but will will turn it around.”

New kid on the block, Leeds Rhinos academy hooker, Corey Johnson. PIC: James Hardisty/JPIMedia

New kid on the block, Leeds Rhinos academy hooker, Corey Johnson. PIC: James Hardisty/JPIMedia

Asked what Rhinos need to do to get back on track, Lunt added: “I leave everything to Rich [Agar], he is our coach and we have every faith in him and the other guys on the coaching staff.

“They will tell us what to do, we will work hard and hopefully put the wrongs right this week. We have got seven games left so there’s no point panicking.

“Hull FC have been a bit hit and miss this year, they’ve either been fantastic or they’ve struggled. Hopefully this will be one of the weeks when they struggle, but they are a very good side.

“We know we have got a big week of training ahead of us, but we are back at home and we will look to put things right.”

Hull face Warrington Wolves in a Coral Challenge Cup semi-final just six days after the game at Emerald Headingley so this week could be a good time to play them.

Lunt noted: “They played really well in the first half against London last week and I believe they will win the semi-final; in the Cup they have been fantastic.

“They have got some world-class individual players, but hopefully they will have one eye on the cup rather than us.”

Lunt, who has battled illness and injury in recent seasons, was brought on as a 45th minute substitute in last Friday’s game, for his first Rhinos appearances since the 2012 Grand Final win over Warrington Wolves. He spent most of that season on loan at Leeds from Huddersfield and had agreed to stay on a long-term deal, but was recalled because Giants were short of acting-halfs.

He joined Hull KR on loan in 2015 and signed for them the following season. Now 32, he returned to Leeds as part of the deal which saw Matt Parcell – who scored Rovers’ first try last week – move the other way.

He is on loan until the end of the season, but Brad Dwyer is now the only experienced specialist hooker in Rhinos’ squad and Lunt has an opportunity to earn a contract for 2020 and beyond.

Leeds are also keeping tabs on Featherstone Rovers’ former NRL hooker Cameron King – though at this stage they don’t have quota space to bring in another overseas player – and have high hopes for England academy number nine Corey Johnson who has yet to make his Super League debut.

But Lunt has seven more games to prove what he can do and , despite last week’s result, he has no regrets about his latest move.

“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “I walked out on Friday and I felt 10 feet tall. I have had a really tough year this year and to come back and play at Headingley, ever since I left in 2012 I always wanted to come back at some point. As I got older I didn’t think that chance would come, but I absolutely love it.

“It never gets old playing for Leeds Rhinos. With what happened earlier on in the year I don’t take rugby for granted, I want to play every game I can and just enjoy it.

“Playing in front of the South Stand again was fantastic.”

Meanwhile, Parcell is facing a long layoff after suffering a shoulder injury in last week’s game.

Lunt’s loan deal with Leeds does not include the option for Rovers to recall him.