THERE’S NO place like home – and Aussie forward Adam Cuthbertson admits it is a “relief” for Leeds Rhinos to be heading back to Emerald Headingley.
After beginning their Betfred Super League campaign with four successive away games, Rhinos will have home advantage for the first time when Wakefield Trinity are the visitors tomorrow.
Rhinos picked up just one win in the opening month of the campaign but, following a difficult first two games, there are clear signs Dave Furner’s side are beginning to find their feet and Cuthbertson pledged: “I think we can take a lot of confidence into the Wakey game.”
He said: “We’ve had a very tough start in terms of going away and playing the two Grand Finalists and a very good Saints team.
“We got a win over at Salford, but coming back home this week I think is a big relief for the whole team, just to get back on home soil and play in front of our own fans and not have to travel.
“We didn’t have a great result against Warrington or Wigan, but we could take a lot from those games as a team still growing together with a lot of new faces.
It’s a big relief for the whole team, just to get back on home soil and play in front of our own fans and not have to travel.Adam Cuthbertson
“We had a good win at Salford and then last week I thought against Saints we were very, very unlucky. I thought we had a very good team performance from one to 17.”
The effort in the second quarter of the game at St Helens, when Rhinos hit back from 10-0 down to lead 22-10, showed how far they have come since being thumped 26-6 at Warrington Wolves in round one.
“We’ve got a lot of new things we’ve worked on through pre-season and you can’t get it right just at training,” added Cuthbertson, who is set to make his 100th Super League appearance against Wakefield. “It takes a few games for it to click.
“There was a spell against Saints when it did click and we got a lot of points and defended quite well.
“Those were down times as well and some unlucky times from calls from refs and stuff like that, which we don’t blame at all – we only blame what we can control.
“When it clicked it felt good and I think we will be primed and ready for the same sort of effort this week.”
The spells when it all comes together will get longer with time, Cuthbertson feels.
“The boys in the halves working together and Trent [Merrin] and Konny [Hurrell] coming in, they’ve all been brilliant,” he added. “It is just a matter of that combination sustaining the whole 80 minutes and especially at times when we are in good field position, which we are starting to do. There’s good signs.”
Trinity got off the mark with a win over Catalans Dragons a week ago and Cuthbertson insisted: “I think it’ll be a good clash. We had a good hit-out against them on Boxing Day so we know what we are in for and likewise for them.
“We’ve had a taste of one another and how it’s going to be out on the pitch and I am sure it will make for a great Friday-night football game.”
James Donaldson and Matt Parcell are back in the Rhinos squad for tomorrow’s match while Pauli Pauli returns in place of Jordan Crowther for Trinity.
Leeds Rhinos from: Walker, Briscoe, Watkins (c), Hurrell, Handley, Lolohea, Myler, Cuthbertson, Parcell, Singleton, Merrin, Dwyer, Sutcliffe, Ferres, Peteru, Oledzki, Smith, Donaldson, Newman.
Wakefield Trinity from: Arona, Arundel, Ashurst, Batchelor, Brough, England, Fifita, Hampshire, Hirst, Horo, Johnstone, Jones-Bishop, King, Kopczak, Lyne, Miller, Pauli, Tupou, Wood.
Referee: Chris Kendall.
Kick-off: 7.45pm tomorrow.