Leeds Rhinos need to develop 'winning mentality' says James Donaldson

Forward James Donaldson says Leeds Rhinos need to build a “winning mentality” - when they finally get back on the field.

By Peter Smith
Saturday, 12th June 2021, 4:45 am

Rhinos were due to face St Helens in Betfred Super League last night (Friday), but the game was postponed on Wednesday after several Leeds players tested positive for coronavirus and others were ordered to self-isolate.

The visit of the reigning champions should have been Rhinos’ first game since a record 60-6 win over Castleford Tigers at the Jungle two weeks earlier.

Leeds are scheduled to play Catalans Dragons in Perpignan a week today, but that fixture is in doubt because of the Covid outbreak.

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James Donaldson in action for Rhinos. Picture by Tony Johnson.

If the match in France is called off, Rhinos will go at least three weekends without a game after producing their best performance of the season so far in the win over Tigers.

They ran in 11 tries that night and scored only 30 fewer points than they had managed in their previous seven league matches.

The result kept them in the hunt for a top-six spot, but a success rate of 37 per cent will not be enough when it comes to the business end of the campaign and Donaldson reckons improving that depends on them having the same attitude on a week-to-week basis.

Donaldson said Rhinos had a good week in training after the Tigers game, before the positive tests and were raring to get back into action.

And he stressed: “We will take some confidence from [the Castleford game] and we have to keep building.

“With the different players we’ve had every week, it has been hard, but we were starting to click and things were beginning to come off. Hopefully it will continue.”

The long gap between matches has broken the momentum Rhinos built during the derby victory, but will also give injured players extra time to recover.

Ash Handley, Bodene Thompson and Tom Holroyd were all expected to press for a place against Saints and others could be back in contention by the time Rhinos next take to the field.

Donaldson said: “You need competition [for places] in a team, to make sure you are getting the best out of everyone.

“The competition and fight does that, it is always a good place to be having people fighting for spots.

“We have improved over the last few weeks, individually and as a team and hopefully that will put us in good stead.”

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