Tom Briscoe: Leeds Rhinos can take 'positives' into St Helens showdown says long-serving back

Leeds Rhinos have “no choice” but to get their chins off the floor ahead of Friday’s visit of Betfred Super League leaders and champions St Helens, centre/winger Tom Briscoe says.

Rhinos are on the back of a 40-16 home defeat by Castleford Tigers in the Betfred Challenge Cup four days ago.

That was their sixth loss in seven competitive games this year and Briscoe admitted they are low on form and confidence.

Though Saints were beaten at bottom club Toulouse Olympique in their last league game two weeks ago, Rhinos will need a “massive” improvement to even compete with the current table-toppers, Briscoe said.

Tom Briscoe tangles with Tigers' Kenny Edwards during last week's Cup tie. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

And asked if they can come up with the right response following their Cup exit, he stressed: “We’ve got no choice.”

Briscoe warned: “They are the form team again this season and we know it is going to be a tough game.

“But if we can take some positives [out of last Saturday] and build on them and put in a good performance and hold our heads high afterwards, that’s all we can ask for.”

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The long-serving back insisted there were some good signs in the second half of the defeat by Tigers, despite the final result.

Trailing 28-0 at half-time, Rhinos hit back with two touchdowns in the opening 10 minutes of the second period, before Tigers winger Greg Eden scored an interception try to put the game out of the home team’s reach.

“The first 15 minutes of the second half was better,” Briscoe said.

“Obviously the Eden interception try was a massive turning point, but I thought the reaction from the first half, to come out and produce that in the second half, was a real positive and some good signs moving forward.

“But we need more of that and to start the game like that.”

Rhinos have not scored in the first half of either of their last two home matches, having been 18-0 down against Hull and then 31 points adrift before finally getting off the mark.

“We’ll struggle to beat anyone doing that, no matter who it is,” Briscoe admitted.

“We need to fix that up and to start games better.”

Rhinos are stepping up their search for a new head coach, with chief executive Gary Hetherington jetting to Australia this weekend to speak to potential candidates.

Assistant-coach Jamie Jones-Buchanan was placed in interim charge last week and Briscoe reckons it will take time for his influence to be felt.

“We knew it wouldn’t change overnight and it would be a bit of a process to get there, but I thought the signs were there,” he added.

“We know what we have to do, it is just about doing that and improving our discipline to give us more of a chance to show that.”

Though another defeat this week would leave Rhinos second from bottom in Super League, Briscoe believes they can still get something positive from this season.

“Without doubt,” he said.

“We are six rounds into a long season, we know we have got some improvement in us, but we have got to start showing it soon.”

And he stressed the responsibility is on the players to get their campaign up and running.

He said: “Obviously we are a bit low on confidence and we had a bit of a shock [previous coach Richard Agar resigning] last week.

“But it is on us to turn it around and make sure we are doing everything we can in training to improve.”

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