Video - Losses hard to take but Leeds Rhinos boss Dave Furner keeps believing

FRUSTRATED COACH Dave Furner says Leeds Rhinos must learn how to hold on to a lead.

Monday, 25th March 2019, 6:53 am
Updated Monday, 25th March 2019, 6:58 am

Rhinos have been in front in six of their seven defeats this season, including Saturday’s 26-22 loss at Catalans Dragons where they were ahead 12-0, 16-6 and 20-16.

The loss in France left Rhinos - who have played a game more than most of their rivals - bottom of Betfred Super League with just one win from their opening eight matches.

Furner admitted the word “frustration” best summed up his mood. He insisted: “I loved the way we attacked the game.

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CLOSING IN: Leeds Rhinos get to grips with Catalans new signing Sam Kasiano. Picture: Pascal Rodriguez

“We had plenty of energy, I made some changes to bring a bit more energy and control to the game and in the first half we nearly completed at 100 per cent, so really good control.

“The second half, unfortunately, we had three major errors out of yardage [coming away from Leeds’ line] which gave them a bit more energy.

“That was probably the disappointing part, but we had an opportunity to win the game. We never stopped trying, but we have got to learn to close those games off.

“That’s two weeks in a row that has really hurt us. The energy and what we brought here to win the game I was really proud of, but we’re just not closing those games off.

FRUSTRATION: Leeds Rhinos' head coach, David Furner. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

“It’s that and a bit of discipline too. We got a few penalties against us, I never look at that as an excuse, but it did hurt us.”

Rhinos lost by four points having conceded six when Brett Ferres was in the sin-bin for going into a tackled opponent with his knees.

Furner said: “We fought quite well, but that’s what I am talking about discipline, particularly coming out of their end.”

The coach dropped Tui Lolohea, who did not make the trip and moved Liam Sutcliffe from the second-row to stand-off.

DROPPED: Leeds Rhinos' Tui Lolohea. Picture: Isabel Pearce/SWpix.com

“I was looking for more stability and control and I thought he looked very comfortable there,” Furner said of Sutcliffe. He added: “We needed to change.

“We didn’t close off the game last week and I made the decision to have a bit more stability on the right edge.

“When you put players in that position you need to talk about where they need to improve and I spoke to Tui about that.

“He is certainly a special player, but what I looked at was what’s best for the team and that was Liam Sutcliffe in at number six.”

Of Leeds’ situation in the table, Furner said: “I just keep looking at what’s best for the team.

“They are hard losses, but as a team we can’t stop believing where we can go.

“That’s my job and the players’ too - have a look at this game and some of those errors and discipline, where they can be better.

“We have certainly shown we can compete against the best teams; we need to have a look at this game, dump it and narrow our focus down to Thursday night against Castleford.”

Furner hit out at the practice of an attacking player throwing the ball at a defender in the ruck to win a penalty.

He said: “I think we’ve got to have a look at that.

“I don’t think it is good for our game.”