Leeds Rhinos Netball gear up for a play-off charge

Leeds Rhinos return to Hull tonight looking to kickstart a late sprint into the Vitality Superleague play-offs.

Rhinos have lost six of their last seven games and know they need to beat Surrey Storm – the side sitting one place and one win above them – tonight at the Allam Sports Centre in Hull.

A sell-out Hull crowd of 500-plus fans saw them beaten by title challengers Loughborough Lightning last week but goal defence player Vicki Oyesola knows they are in do-or-die territory in their bid to make the top four.

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“With Surrey just above us in the table, it makes tonight a huge game,” said Oyesola, whose Rhinos probably need to win four of their remaining five games to reach the play-offs for a second successive season.

PLAY-OFF CHARGE: Leeds Rhinos' Vicki Oyesola in action against Wasps. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

“We’re just going in knowing our gameplan and with a mindset that we need to win.

“When we played them last time, it was a really closely-contested game and it wasn’t until the last quarter that we lost it.

“We know we’re within touching distance of them. All teams have developed since we last played them, no team is the same, but I’m confident we can give them a good game and get that first win in Hull.”

Injuries to the likes of Rhea Dixon and Emily Hollinsworth have not helped Rhinos this season, but they are still growing as a club.

Tonight is their second game in Hull and then, on Sunday, they welcome leaders Manchester Thunder to first direct Arena in Leeds when they again hope to play in front of 3,000 fans.

But first things first – victory tonight. “There’s been a lot of ups and down this season,” said Oyesola.

“It seems like when we have our good performances like we did against Mavericks and against Bath, we’ve then not been able to back it up the next time.

“Last week against Loughborough, even though we lost we still played really well as a team and we should be able to take that into tonight

“It was great in Hull, the crowd was amazing. Rhinos did a really good job of getting the atmosphere right and the fans were great.”