LEEDS RHINOS’ second win of the season over Hull will have no bearing the next time the teams meet, with a place at Wembley up for grabs.
That’s the view of forward Adam Cuthbertson in the wake of Rhinos’ against-the-odds 10-7 victory three days ago.
Rhinos lost Stevie Ward and Keith Galloway to injury inside the opening quarter and were 7-0 down at half-time, but hit back with two second-half tries to secure second spot at the end of the regular Betfred Super League campaign.
It was Leeds’s eighth successive victory over Hull, but the black and whites will get a quick opportunity for revenge when the teams meet again in a Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final at Doncaster on Saturday, July 29.
Both sides defended strongly in last Friday’s game, but Hull put themselves under pressure with a series of handling errors and Cuthbertson reckons they will be better the next time.
“Semi-finals are a different ball game,” Cuthbertson said. “Teams turn up a bit differently in those sorts of games.
“I am sure they will do their homework and be a better team for it.”
Hull were without their most influential player, Albert Kelly, due to a calf injury. He is expected to be available for the Cup tie and Cuthbertson added: “He is quite dominant in their set-ups and their offense.
“They miss him when he’s not there and they will be stronger again when they get him back.”
Despite his caution, Cuthbertson admitted Leeds have taken confidence from their battling performance.
“It wasn’t pretty,” he reflected.
“It was a very tough effort from the boys and we were resilient in that second half. We managed the game well I think, especially the halves and Jack [Walker] when he came on to the field and we stuck in there and stuck at it.
“We got a few repeat sets which sort of ground them out of the game, which was good.”
Rhinos are now four points clear of third-placed Salford and Wakefield Trinity, who are up to fourth, with one game to play before the Super-8s.
It has been a dramatic turnaround from a year ago, when Leeds finished ninth and were forced to fight for Super League survival in the middle-eights Qualifiers.
“It was all about building again this year and learning lessons from last year and developing as a team with the juniors coming through,” Cuthbertson said.