England winger Ryan Hall reckons Leeds Rhinos have their own point to prove in tonight’s much-anticipated clash with Super League leaders Warrington.
Much has been made of their opponents’ failure in last season’s play-offs, when Leeds massively upset the odds to end Warrington’s hopes of a first title.
The West Yorkshire club, of course, then went on to lift a fourth championship in five years themselves despite finishing the regular season in fifth.
The rivals meet for the first time since this evening in a game Rhinos coach Brian McDermott has likened to their epic World Club Challenge win over Manly three weeks ago.
Leeds star Hall, 24, also expects a similarly full-blooded battle and told the Yorkshire Post: “Warrington players will still have that game last year fresh in their minds.
“They will have found it quite hard to take how their season ended. Let’s be honest – they were the best team all year but got turned over in their last game by us so couldn’t then be crowned champions.
“We went on and did win it but we’re trying to prove a point of our own now.
“We had too many low points last year and it wasn’t ideal losing as many games as we did.
“This time we want to prove we’re the best side throughout and beating Warrington at Headingley will be a great way of doing that.
“The main focus before that was the World Club Challenge, but we won that and can now concentrate on the league again.
“Aside from one slip away at Wigan we’ve done well . We’ve put that to bed now so we’re ready for Warrington.”
Leeds were tortured 42-6 when Warrington last ventured to Headingley in June having had a similar number of points put past them at Halliwell Jones Stadium.
But a success tonight would see them move to within a point of their revered opponents and still with a game in hand.
Hall’s profile, meanwhile, has rocketed as he continues to live up to his billing as the world’s top winger.
Another hat-trick at Castleford last week saw his strike rate increase to seven tries in his last three games alone.
It was announced recently that Hall had signed a new contract at Headingley which will keep him at his home-town club until the end of 2016.
But, with James Graham his latest England colleague heading to the NRL, the ex-St Helens prop making an instant impact on debut for Canterbury last week, was he not tempted to make the switch to Australia too?
“I’ve always had a pretty long contract at Leeds which has always been topped up so it has never really been an opportunity for me,” said Hall, who will be 28 when his current deal expires.
“I’m quite happy to do that but if something came up further down the line – if it was the right club and the right time – then I’d never say never.”