David Clegg Reports The Views Of Assistant Coach, Martin Gleeson, Following The Away Fixture At Leeds, And Ahead Of The Home Game With Warrington
Disappointed as we all were with the final score, last Friday, at Headingley, this will surely have been to a small degree compared with that felt by the players who looked, five minutes from the end of the game, to be heading towards taking a well earned point from the encounter. It certainly seemed, at the time, a bitter pill to swallow.
Four days on, however, they have all moved on and put it behind them, with Assistant Coach, Martin Gleeson, reporting that the team is now fully focused on the coming weekend, in which they are aiming to build upon the many positives from the Leeds match, whilst addressing a number of issues which were identified upon review.
“They’re fine now,” he claims. “We were beaten because we were not good enough in certain aspects of the game, which ultimately cost us.”
That is not to say though that a draw would not have been a fair result, and the players had certainly done enough to have deserved that.
“In certain aspects of the game we were really good,” he recalls. “We made a lot of line breaks and created a number of opportunities. Leeds’s defence is rather unorthodox, but they scramble well. They rely particularly on working hard for one another, and seem able to snuff out the threat of a try.”
One area, in which Leeds did seem to hold the upper hand, was around the play-the-ball, where our markers appeared to be caught out on a number of occasions, enabling the Rhinos to cut through with clear breaks several times.
“That’s something we need to address, because Warrington play in much the same way,” he agrees. “They, too, are very quick around the ruck, and get the ball away slickly, so we need to be a whole lot better in defence.”
Indeed, it was possibly some little laxity around the play-the-ball, immediately prior to Leeds’s final try, which allowed them to initiate the attack. Had it been stopped early on, there then would have been no pass, whether forward or otherwise, to have caused the subsequent damage, though Martin casts the net rather further afield in his assessment of the circumstances.
“There were a number of occasions where things could have been stopped, and our line still had to be broken for Leeds to get through and make the break,” is his conclusion.
With Warrington being so equally sharp around the ruck, this has been an obvious area of focus for the whole squad during the week.
“We do our homework on the opposition, and that is an area where we know we will have to match them,” he acknowledges.
With Warrington currently sitting in the most unlikely of positions, at the foot of the table, with the World Club Challenge match against Brisbane Broncos their only win, they will undoubtedly be targeting this weekend for their first Super League win.
“Everyone goes into every game, at this level, believing they can win, and Warrington definitely have their strengths,” he concedes, “but they also have weaknesses, which we shall have to exploit.
“They have not won yet, and we shall have home advantage with the benefit of our fans getting behind us, so we shall be going into the game with the intention of being competitive and attacking the game from the outset. If we can improve in one area from last week, we could win.”
Over the matches they have played so far, Martin has been extremely pleased with the team’s game management, though rather less so with individuals’ concentration throughout the forties, which is fundamental to the consistency for which they have been aiming.
“Our game management has been quite good,” he enthuses, “We just need to be patient and disciplined.”
Referee – Mr J Smith
Touch Judges – J Child, A Martin
In-Goal Judges – S Daniel, G Evans
Reserve Referee – R Snelson