Wigan Warriors v Leeds Rhinos: Hooker Dwyer excited to tackle his hometown club

IT HAS been a frustrating debut season at Leeds Rhinos for hooker Brad Dwyer, but he reckons victory away to his hometown club, Wigan Warriors, tonight would be the perfect confidence-booster, individually and for the team.

Thursday, 28th June 2018, 6:30 am
Leeds Rhinos hooker, Brad Dwyer.

With five games left to secure their place in the Super-8s, Rhinos are getting close to make or break. A seventh successive Betfred Super League defeat would be a new club record and could mean their fate is no longer in their own hands if other results go against them.

And personally, Dwyer is hoping for an opportunity to show what he can do on one of the biggest occasions of the season.

“I’m excited about it,” said Dwyer. “It is a big game and it’s always good to play against Wigan. I know quite a few of the lads there so it’s one of the fixtures I look out for.

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Leeds Rhinos hooker, Matt Parcell. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

“We’ve not been far off lately, we’ve had performances, but we’re more dependent on the result now and not just the performances. We’ve got a few troops back this week so hopefully that’ll help us get over the line.”

Ryan Hall is set to return from England duty and Richie Myler, Brad Singleton and Ashton Golding are in contention following injury.

Rhinos were without 12 senior players in each of their past two games and Dwyer admitted that has had a bearing on results, but he insisted: “The most frustrating thing is we’ve been in positions to win games and we’ve not done that.

“That’s a massive lesson for quite a few of the young lads and hopefully they’ll take quite a bit of experience out of what we’ve been through lately and hopefully it turns around sooner rather than later.”

Rhinos have led in four of their last six league defeats and were in front inside the final 10 minutes against St Helens and Catalans Dragons before being beaten on the bell.

“There’s a lot of positive signs there,” insisted Dwyer. “But I just think it’s that side of it of closing a game out and just doing enough to win the game.

“That’s something that, by going through those situations, we are going to get better at. I think we get anxious towards the end of games.

“It’s a matter of dealing with that anxiety and being confident in our abilities. I think it’s a collective thing with the year we’ve had and the troops we’ve had missing and the ups and downs in form we’ve had. Hopefully we can learn from this experience and turn it around soon.

“When we have let ourselves express ourselves we’ve been more than good enough to compete with these top teams.”

Dwyer was signed in the closed season from Warrington Wolves as back-up to Matt Parcell. He has made two starts and 10 appearances off the bench for Rhinos and also played once with Featherstone Rovers on dual-registration.

He reflected: “It has been a difficult year because of injuries really. I haven’t had any bad injuries, but it’s like as soon as I get going I struggle with injuries or whatever.

“It’s just a lack of consistency really, whether it’s within the performance or with an injury cropping up. For me it’s just trying to find that consistency where I can and hopefully getting some game time and starting to perform like I’ve shown glimpses of in bigger spells.

“It is difficult, we are desperate for a win so it is difficult to get players out there to try and get game time and give them a chance to find form.

“But that’s the situation we’re in and it’s my job to deal with that as best as I can, whether that means going away and getting some rugby or just being patient and being good in the time I get on the field.

“It is something I need to start doing now, finding some consistency in my performance.”

Dwyer came off the bench for Featherstone in a Betfred Championship win at Dewsbury Rams three weeks ago.

“It was good,” he recalled. “It is a decent level and it’s not necessarily the standard or where I’m playing, it’s more the game time and getting my confidence back and getting in a routine of playing again.”

Coming into a pivotal position such as hooker after limited preparation with unfamiliar team-mates wasn’t easy, but Dwyer observed: “They play a similar way, they like getting on the front foot and that was good.

“It was a different challenge in its own right, there was quite a bit of space and it was about being patient really and knowing when to go.

“Any game time is good at the minute and that’s what I need to get back to pushing Matt [Parcell].”