LAST year’s experience in the Qualifiers has given Leeds Rhinos added incentive to make an impact on the Super-8s, utility-player Liam Sutcliffe says.
Rhinos failed to feature in the top-eight in 2016, but are second in the table going into this week’s Challenge Cup final break and seem on course for a home play-off.
Their 16-14 win over St Helens, coupled with Hull’s home defeat by Huddersfield Giants, opened a three-point cushion over the third-placed team and Sutcliffe said they are in good shape ahead of the most crucial few weeks of the season.
“We’re excited to be part of this again and to be involved in these massive games,” he stated.
“We all know what’s at stake and what the reward is at the end of the year.
“We are pumped and raring to go.
“We are in a good position, especially after where we finished last year.
“We are second in the table right now and hopefully we can stay there and get a home tie in the semi-finals.”
Sutcliffe added: “We are under no illusions, we know it is going to be tough and we have still got a fair few games before then, but everyone is really confident with how we are going and hopefully we can have a massive finish.”
Leeds face Cup finalists Hull in their next game when a Rhinos win would be a giant step towards a home play-off, but Sutcliffe insisted: “We aren’t really thinking about the table.
“We just want to keep up our performances.
“Obviously we know we need to win to stay second and we will be ready for it.
“They will want to win and stay in the top-four and we are no different so we are looking forward to it.
“There’s a lot of hard work still to do. There’s four massive games left and we are under no illusions, every team we play is really going to test us. We just want to kick on from Friday.
“It was really tough, Saints threw a lot at us so to get the two points and be pleased with our performance will do us good and hopefully put us in good stead for the rest of the year.”