Leeds Rhinos hooker Kruise Leeming says "don't write us off" for Super League title

They are currently down in seventh having lost more than half the games they have played this season but Kruise Leeming says Leeds Rhinos have not given up on winning Super League this season.

The hooker knows it is imperative they maintain their recent turn in form to do that; Leeds host bottom-placed Leigh Centurions tonight seeking a third straight victory.

Rhinos who defeated Salford City Reds on Sunday, started the campaign poorly, losing four of their opening five league games as well as crashing out of the Challenge Cup.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But, they have rallied and, even though they are missing a raft of players to injury and suspension this evening, Leeming has confidence in what the Challenge Cup holders could still achieve.

“We need to win our next bunch of games,” said the ex-Huddersfield Giants star, who will play his third game in seven days having also helped the Combined Nations All Stars beat England last Friday.

“We’ve set a target of getting these three - Salford, Leigh and Warrington (away on Monday).

“If we do that, we could be up to fifth or sixth and, at the halfway point of the season, and with the start and issues we’ve had, we’d take that.

“We’ve not given up on winning the competition.

Leeds Rhinos' Kruise Leeming (PHIL DALY/LEEDS RHINOS/SWPIX)
Leeds Rhinos' Kruise Leeming (PHIL DALY/LEEDS RHINOS/SWPIX)

“A lot of people have already written us off but we don’t see it like that.

“The spirit we have in camp here is good and if we win these three we’re in with a chance.”

Leeming helped Leeds win 38-12 at Salford on Sunday, scoring one of their seven tries having switched to the halves as he backed up less than 48 hours after featuring for the All Stars.

“We put a decent score on them,” he added.

Kruise Leeming (No14) hugs Jackson Hastings after helping the Combined Nations All Stars defeat England last week (ALLAN MCKENZIE/SWPIX)

“I know Salford are doing it tough but they don’t seem to leak a lot of points. “Their defence is pretty tough and we faced them last year in the Challenge Cup final.

“They are a different team now and it was impressive how we managed to come back as we did and score as many points as we did.

“It was impressive - and needed.”

Uncapped Leeming has been involved with England’s training squad this season having earlier represented England Knights but, having been overlooked by Shaun Wane for the mid-season international, accepted Tim Sheens’ invite to play for the All Stars on the back of his Swaziland heritage.

The 25-year-old enjoyed the experience and one player especially caught his eye in the representative side of some of Super League’s best overseas players.

“The one that surprised me - well, not surprised as he’s a Man of Steel and I know how good he is - but one who I was impressed by was Jackson Hastings,” said Leeming, about Wigan Warriors’ Australian stand-off who represented Great Britain in 2019.

“You can tell when someone is a good player but it’s only when you play with them that you realise what they do for the team and how much they help you.

“That’s when you really appreciate them a little bit more and that was the case with Jackson.”