Time off will help Leeds Rhinos adapt to the ‘new game’ – Luke Gale

WE HAVE no game this weekend and, though it might seem strange to say this after just getting back from five months off, I think the break has come at the right time for us.

Friday, 21st August 2020, 6:01 am

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We’ll get some troops back for our next game and it’s a chance to regroup.

After the Huddersfield game we knew we weren’t great, but we got the win.

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Covering for quality players, including Robert Lui, is a far-from-ideal scenario says Luke Gale. Picture: Bruce Rollinson/JPIMedia.

Then we’ve not been happy with the last two performances, being blown away by St Helens and losing to Wigan.

Last weekend we were in contention, but I don’t think we were great and we haven’t been great throughout the first few games.

We have changed things up a bit at training and a weekend without playing will give us an opportunity to right some wrongs and get some hard work into us.

Hopefully we’ll come back against Salford a week tomorrow in much better shape.

New kid on the block Callum McLelland in action against Wigan last time out. Picture: Bruce Rollinson/JPIMedia.

I was really disappointed with my sin-binning against Wigan. I have watched it back and I feel it was harsh.

I have seen probably five or six of those since the games restarted and not one of them has been a sin-binning so I can’t really understand why it was given.

If you are going to do that on every tip tackle, fair enough, that’s fine, but he made a meal of it.

We were in the game at 16-10, which is why I am so upset, but the fact is we made too many errors and we aren’t firing on all cylinders at the minute.

Ash Handley, an international-class winger covering at full-back. Picture: Bruce Rollinson/JPIMedia.

Hard work and what we do in training is going to be important before the Salford game. We have altered a few things to try and replicate the game intensity.

The game has changed quite a lot since we were playing earlier in the year.

The ball is in play a lot longer and that has probably had a bigger effect than we were expecting.

We weren’t quite ready for that and I still don’t think we are, so that’s something we are working on. We’ve had some tough sessions this week and the signs are positive.

There is a lot of disappointment, nobody likes getting beaten, but we know there is still a good team here and the bottom line is we need to be better.

We’ve had a few boys back in training this week which is obviously a bonus, but the young kids who have come in will benefit from the experience. When you lose a player of Rob Lui’s quality and experience it is big shoes to fill.

Callum McLelland is playing next to a young centre in Harry Newman and it is always tough for a young half when the team is not playing well.

If he comes into a team that’s firing on all cylinders, his performances look better as well.

It has been tough on him the last couple of games, especially against quality opposition like St Helens and Wigan. It’s not a fair reflection of him and he knows that as well.

Ash Handley has done a great job at full-back, but he is an international-class winger who has never played full-back.

It is tough to step in there at that level against top-four teams, but he has been outstanding and put two massive shifts in for us.

But we lose an attacking threat as well, his kick returns are unbelievable. That has been tough, but a lot of teams are carrying injuries and having to play a different way.

It has been a challenging couple of weeks.

The reviews haven’t been much fun, but there’s a lot of honesty in the camp.

We know it is not good enough and not where we want to be and we are working hard to try and resolve that.

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Thank you, Laura Collins