Leeds Rhinos Zane Tetevano hails defensive qualities on show as Rhinos progress in Super League play-offs

KIWI star Zane Tetevano is relishing “repaying” his team-mates as Leeds Rhinos edge closer to a potential Super League Grand Final appearance.

BACK IN THE MIX: Leeds's Zane Tetevano. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

The combative loose forward made a timely return from a three-game ban to help defeat Wigan Warriors 8-0 in Thursday’s elimination play-off.

That has set up a semi-final next week at either Catalans Dragons or St Helens for a place at Old Trafford.

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Tetevano had already incurred a four-match suspension after being sent-off against Saints earlier in the season and had been sin-binned in his last two appearances.

But the 31-year-old’s defensive approach was spot on as he helped shut out Wigan at the DW Stadium and his experience and leadership was certainly welcomed.

“Three weeks is a long time,” said Tetevano.

“The boys have been putting in the work and I have a lot to repay to those boys that have been working for me this year.

“It was good to be finally back in the mix.

“The first half was nil-all so it showed it was a tough game.

“We knew it would be a tough game. But that’s finals footy for you.”

Defences were on top and there was little attacking quality of note from either side.

However, given his side’s resilience, the former Sydney Roosters forward is confident fifth-placed Leeds can now go all the way.

PLAY-OFF WIN: For Leeds Rhinos as Ash Handley celebrates scoring the opening try at Wigan. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

“D wins games,” said Tetevano, who won the NRL Grand Final with Roosters in 2018 and was a beaten finalist for Penrith Panthers last year before moving to Headingley.

“We knew it was going to be a pretty basic gameplan for us and that defence would win us the game so we hung in there and got what we wanted. Next stop the semis.”

Leeds had kept Wigan pointless at home just four weeks previously - the first time any side had done that in 30 years - and soon repeated the feat.

Tetevano admitted: “It’s a massive achievement keeping a side to nil. It’s all about attitude.

“We showed what we wanted to do. And it’s good. But we have to step up again next week. That (winning title) is the goal.”