The Liam Farrell Column: Rhinos still a class act

Liam Farrell gives Ben Flower a bear hug 
after scoring 
against Hull
Liam Farrell gives Ben Flower a bear hug after scoring against Hull

I can’t tell you how excited everyone is about tomorrow night’s game.

We’ve had some terrific battles with Leeds in recent years and this one should be no different.

You only have to look at Leeds’ squad to know they still have the names and faces to cause problems from anywhere, so we really need to be on our game.

A lot has been made about their poor start to the season and they have been a bit unlucky, not only dealing with three key players leaving but with the injuries they’ve had since.

But if you look at their last few results, they’re not in bad form.

They still have the players who can trouble you, if you let them.

Will we talk about the Grand Final? Probably.

But it won’t make a difference to how we prepare.

If we hadn’t met at Old Trafford we’d be just as excited about this game.

There’s something about Wigan-Leeds matches - we seem to bring the best out in each other.

We’ve won four from four in Super League but we recognise we’re nowhere near where we want to be yet.

We’ve got the best defence in the league so far, and the best part is it can get so much better.

We leaked some soft tries against Hull FC last Friday night.

There were a couple of cases when players were on different pages, which was frustrating.

But encouragingly, system errors are quite easy to fix up. It’s not like there’s a problem with anyone’s ability to tackle.

Generally, though, we’ve been happy with our defence this season.

Even when we’ve not been playing well we’ve been working hard for each other.

I think if you ask all the lads, they’d say we can attack a lot better.

There were some signs of it improving last week and in spells, we showed that - when we get it on - we are hard to defend against. But we need to do that more consistently.

That said, Waney was really pleased with the win.

Hull had been playing well and had put some points on team - they’ll beat a few teams at the KC this year.

We made it tough for ourselves, and at 20-6 we lost our way a bit and allowed them to put us under pressure.

But we were composed when we needed to be and, fair play to Matty Smith, he hit two great drop-goals to win it.

I watched a couple of the games in the opening round of the NRL.

Many people are tipping Brisbane to win the Premiership this season.

That doesn’t make our defeat to them in the World Club Series any easier to stomach, but at least it shows we weren’t beaten by a weak side.

It was nice to see Joe Burgess score two tries on his Sydney Roosters debut, even thought he will be disappointed with the defeat.

On the flip-side, Sam Burgess returned for Souths and it was great to see him back playing rugby league.

In my eyes, he’s the best forward in the game.

And for England, having him back is a massive boost and great for our chances in the Four Nations and beyond.

If you look at our national side, there are some pretty special players in our squad, and no more so than Sam.

But as good as he is, he’s very humble, he doesn’t show off, and he’s a great character to have in the squad.

Hopefully I get the chance to play alongside him again in the autumn.

Liam Farrell was talking to Phil Wilkinson