Dave Furner seeks improvement across board at faltering Leeds Rhinos

LEEDS RHINOS head coach Dave Furner has told his faltering side they must “hold their nerve” when they head to Hull FC tonight.

Brett Ferres

The West Yorkshire club have lost four of their opening five games of the Super League season ahead of visiting the improving Airlie Birds.

Clearly, it has been a poor start to the campaign but the manner of last week’s 35-18 home defeat to Wakefield Trinity was perhaps most alarming.

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Furner expects a response this evening and said: “Across the board we need to improve.

“It wasn’t good enough and it’s not the standard we expect. We need to hold our nerve and have that composure at times when things are not going how we want them to.”

The Australian revealed experienced second-row Brett Ferres will lead the side in the absence of injured Leeds captain Kallum Watkins.

The England centre had played all five games so far following the knee reconstruction that wrecked his 2018.

However, he is set for a short spell on the sidelines now and Furner explained: “Kal had two knocks; one against St Helens and one against Wakefield.

“The last one was a bit of a concern and he could not perform the way he’d want to perform.

“He has been progressing quite well, but to the credit of our medical staff they took him straight to the specialist.

“His knee is quite sound and the operation he had previously, that’s not the problem. It’s just bone bruising and he is not able to play the way he’d want to play.

“It is going to be a big blow; he is our captain, which gives a chance to Brett Ferres to captain the side.”

Former England international Ferres, 32, has plenty of experience in a leadership role having acted as vice-captain when Huddersfield Giants won the 2013 League Leaders’ Shield.

Fellow back-row Stevie Ward faces three months out due to knee surgery but Carl Ablett is set for his first appearance of the season tonight when young centre Harry Newman could also come in for Watkins.