Captain Kevin Sinfield hopes Leeds Rhinos’ detractors keep on being negative as it will only make his team-mates more driven in their pursuit to recapture the Super League title.
They head to Hull FC this evening bidding to build-on their dramatic 32-28 opening day win over Bradford Bulls.
Leeds had fallen 18 points behind in Cardiff but staged an inspiring fightback to sneak victory in the closing stages – just as they did there versus Bradford four years ago – and quickly prove their desire has not diminished.
“None of that was in the script,” admitted Sinfield, after Ben Jones-Bishop’s contentious late penalty try completed their renaissance.
“Bradford need to take a lot of credit. They played great for a side with so many new players.
“We were certainly rusty and quite a bit from where we’d like to be but it was good to get the two points.
“Now we need to be better against Hull.”
England loose forward Sinfield, who has lifted the championship four times for Leeds, believes patience will see the squad flourish under the ‘fresh’ direction of new coach Brian McDermott.
“I don’t think anyone can question the spirit and character within the group,” he said.
“I’m sure there will be people who will knock what we’re doing and want to find fault with the group for whatever reason.
“That’s fine. No problem. In fact, it probably helps us. This group has been written off quite a bit in the past but it has been very good at proving people wrong.
“I’m pretty sure it will look to do that again. It doesn’t really bother me what people say.
“Whether we’d have come back on Sunday or not, I know the type of character we have here.”
Sinfield, 30, added: “I know what Brian McDermott expects and we’ll look to deliver that sooner rather than later.
“We’ll improve from Sunday’s performance. We’ve put some areas under the microscope and probably needed to do that. We’ve taken some big positives.”
One of their key issues was an inability to defend kicks and that must be remedied given the potency of Sean Long’s kicking game at Hull.
“I like what they are doing over there,” he said. “I like Hull as a club, with it stadium and coaching set-up. Richard Agar has done great, improving them immensely and where they finished last year is testament to the work he’s done.
“With Longy, Fitzgibbon and Willie Manu, they’ve a whole host of household names and we know it will be tough.”
Leeds edged a fiery affair at the KC Stadium last September which nudged Hull out of the top four.
They then lost to Hull KR in the play-offs and fell against Rovers as well in Cardiff on Sunday.
“They will be fired up after that,” admitted Sinfield. “There is always a lot of emotion around the Hull derby and they will pose a massive challenge, but it’s one where we probably need to put right a few wrongs ourselves.”