Hlaf-back Richie Myler is confident the third time can be a charm for Leeds Rhinos at Wakefield Trinity tomorrow.
Just 17 rounds into Betfred Super League, the teams have already met twice in the competition this year and Trinity have won both, 26-24 at Mobile Rocket Stadium, Belle Vue, on Easter Monday and 35-18 at Emerald Headingley in March.
Despite that poor record, Myler insisted: “We are looking forward to it. Obviously we didn’t perform well enough the last time we played there so we know we have to be on our mettle and we can’t wait to play.”
Pride, as well as vital points, is at stake tonight, but Myler does not regard it as a case of seeking revenge for the previous damaging losses.
“They have been better than us the last times we’ve played them,” he conceded.
“We need to perform well. They have got a lot of strike and a lot of quality players across the park, but we are looking forward to the challenge and to kicking on from our last game.”
The sides have had contrasting preparation for tomorrow evening.
Leeds are on the back of a rare win, having beaten London Broncos at the Magic Weekend 12 days ago, but Trinity suffered their third successive defeat when they went out of the Coral Challenge Cup 48-10 at St Helens last Saturday.
The weekend without a game could be an advantage for Rhinos, but Myler stressed they haven’t been taking it easy.
“We had a tough week, we had some hard conditioning sessions,” he said.
“They had a hard game as well, but I don’t think it is going to have too much of a bearing. We’ve both played 20-odd games this year so I don’t think one week will play too much part.”
Rhinos have not won successive Super League games in more than a year and that is a hurdle they have to get over if they are to pull away from the relegation zone.
Though victory tomorrow would open a four-point gap on bottom club London, who are at home to leaders St Helens on Sunday, Myler said: “We are just looking at building on from the last game.
“It wasn’t great for the full game, but we got the two points and, hopefully, we can kick on and get another two points this week. If we can do that it will make things a bit easier.
“We are working hard in training and that’s where it all starts so we will just keep building as we go.
“We knew the London game was crucial and we managed to get on the right side of that. It’s just about building on that now and kicking on for the back end of the year.”
The fixture against London was the fourth time – in their five wins this year – Rhinos have opened a big lead and then seen the opposition hit back to set up a tense finish.
“It is frustrating,” Myler admitted. “It is inconsistency in form and cohesion in the team a little bit. We just need to keep working on that. We have really put some hours in on the training paddock and we are looking forward to playing again.”
The tables have been turned between Leeds and Wakefield over the past four seasons.
Trinity avoided relegation by winning the Million Pound Game in 2015, having ended the regular season bottom of the table, but since then they have finished above Rhinos twice and are six points ahead of them now.
Coach Chris Chester has transformed them from strugglers into top-five contenders and Myler is full of admiration for what Wakefield have achieved.
He noted: “They have recruited well. They have got some good players in key positions and they’ve got a good coach as well.
”They are well organised and they know what they are doing so they are hard to beat.”
Half-backs Jacob Miller and Danny Brough are both back in Trinity’s side for tomorrow after missing the Easter meeting through injury.
Myler had arguably his best game of the season against London and is relishing the challenge. Of his form, he said: “I thought I tipped my hat in a bit better last week, but we had a couple of key strong performers in that game.
“I thought James Donaldson was absolutely tremendous, he carried the ball so strongly and came up with three line breaks as well.
“He really proved his worth, but I was a bit happier with my own performance.
“I’ll just try and build on that now and try and get some consistency.”