In the midst of a slump in form – although that is the word head coach Brian McDermott is yet to agree with or use – Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington has admitted that the reigning champions are experiencing some tough times right now.
Having lost their last six Super League matches and eight of their last nine, Leeds now find themselves just a point ahead of ninth place, leaving their spot in the top eight in serious peril following their midweek home defeat to Catalans – the team in ninth. In fact, the Rhinos seem to have forgotten how to win – they last did so almost two months ago in a two point victory at Hull KR. Of the situation the club find themselves in, Hetherington admitted that “to find ourselves in this position is bitterly disappointing. We were looking very much like top-four six or eight weeks ago, but the squad has been decimated somewhat with injuries. “We are confident we can find a winning streak and for us every game is crucial now, starting with Wigan away on Thursday. There’s plenty to play for, in fact it is all to play for.”
Continuing, “we are in a battle, with five games until the cut-off, we could have to win four of them,” he explained. Indeed, winning four of those games may be a challenge; while fixtures against Wakefield, Widnes and Salford conclude their regular season campaign, visits to Wigan and Castleford are next up for the West Yorkshiremen and winning either will be a big task. “It is looking like a four-horse race. This is a crucial part of the season and for us the next five games are almost like a season in itself,” Hetherington added.