Brad Singleton encouraged as Leeds Rhinos end Warrington jinx

THERE is a long, long way to go, but front-row Brad Singleton believes Leeds Rhinos have already proved they mean business this year.

Leeds Rhinos' Brad Singleton.

Leeds began their defence of the Super League title with a hard-fought 16-12 win at Warrington Wolves.

Considering Rhinos were second in the table last year and won the Grand Final, while Warrington finished ninth, it was a game they would have been expected to win.

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But Leeds had not tasted success in a league game at Warrington since 2010, the year before coach Brian McDermott took charge.

Two years ago, they conceded 52 points there and even last season’s visit ended in a 25-14 defeat, so winning at one of their bogey grounds was the ideal start.

“For me, it even goes back to Under-20s,” said Singleton, who made his debut in 2011, of Leeds’s poor recent record at Halliwell Jones Stadium.

“I played there in a Grand Final in the Under-20s and lost then so it was a massive win, especially in the first game.”

Singleton added: “I think we are in great nick.

“Obviously we will improve and we will get fitter, but to start the season with that sort of hunger and level of fitness and desire to defend, it is great to see.”

Leeds scored three tries to two and were 12-0 and 16-6 ahead at stages in the game, but did not have it all their own way.

Warrington, who trailed 12-6 at half-time, applied heavy pressure late in the first half and during spells in the second 40, but were repelled by some outstanding last-ditch defence.

For Singleton, that desire to defend their own line was the most encouraging aspect of Leeds’s performance.

“Everyone wants to get two points early doors,” stressed Singleton.

“To see the character there, it was similar to how we left off last year and it was great to see.

“I think there were glimpses of how Richie (Myler) will demand some more structure out of us and that will give more space for the likes of Moony (Joel Moon) and the opportunity to get some points.

“But for us forwards, we just need to give them a platform to go off and I think for round one we have done all right with that performance.”

Of the importance of getting off to a winning start in their title defence, Singleton admitted: “I think we are all scarred from that 2016 season.

“We know what losses mean and what performances mean and every game matters. We want to win each game and we are here to do that.”

Scrum-half Myler made his debut, against one of his former clubs, along with substitutes Brad Dwyer and Nathaniel Peteru.

“They all played well,” said Singleton. “Richie, from the off, had more chance to show what he can do, but I think the two boys that came off the bench will get better and better.

“The threat we’ve got with Matt Parcell and Brad Dwyer out of dummy-half, I think will be on every opponent’s tip sheet.

“For Peteru, as a forward coming over you have got to adapt, but I thought he didn’t look out of place.”