WITH LEEDS Rhinos’ Super League status looking increasingly under threat, director of rugby Kevin Sinfield says painful lessons must be learned.
Sinfield and first-team coach James Lowes have seven games coming up in the Qualifiers to ensure Leeds are in the top flight next year.
Last week’s 38-22 loss at Salford Red Devils, who are in the same situation, highlighted the scale of the task and Sinfield admitted: “We need to learn some lessons.”
Reflecting on Leeds’ final game of the regular season, Sinfield said: “There’s a bit to fix up. Most of the answers are inside us and we’ve got to find some of those. Myself and Jimmy are determined to fix it and hopefully the players want to be part of that.”
To add to Rhinos’ worries, they were without half-back Richie Myler against Salford and forwards Carl Ablett (ankle) and Mitch Garbutt (knee) both picked up injuries which could keep them out of Sunday’s Challenge Cup semi-final against Warrington Wolves.
“We would have loved Richie to play, but he wasn’t right on the back of an ankle injury last weekend,” said Sinfield. “He tried, he trained on Wednesday, but it would have been a real risk for us to play him. We missed him, I thought, in the middle of the park; somebody getting us around and organising and managing and talking.”
One of the few positives for Leeds was front-rower Nathaniel Peteru’s return from his second biceps injury of the season. Sinfield observed: “He was good, it was good to have him back. It was the first time I’ve seen him play live. He has done it tough this year and I thought he was a presence for us.”
Sinfield was also pleased with recruits Jordan Thompson and Dom Crosby. He said: “I thought Jordan had a big game for us, we asked him to play a lot of minutes and I thought he did a really good job for us, as again did Dom. The new blokes put their hands up, they are obviously playing for contracts, they are hungry and they want to be here. It’s good to see.”