Leeds Rhinos will face a much improved Crusaders side than the one they met on the opening day of the season.
That is the view of Aussie Prop Adam Peek as Crusaders prepare to tackle the reigning Super League champions at Headingly on Sunday, (3pm).
Brian Noble’s side head to West Yorkshire full of confidence after last weekend’s 40-22 dismantling of Bradford Bulls, although Leeds are in scintillating form themselves having won their last seven matches.
The two sides met on the opening day of the season, where 10,000 plus fans braved arctic conditions to see the Crusaders push the Rhinos for an hour before eventually losing 34-6.
And Peek, 32, believes Crusaders are now better equipped to deal with the threat posed by Brian McClennan’s men: “There are no easy games in Super League,” he said.
“Leeds have come back and are now hitting a bit of form. A few of their guys played in the test against France last weekend and they will be keen to get them back.
“We’ve just got to make sure we show the same desire and commitment that we
did against Bradford and make sure we take our opportunities. Leeds don’t give you much, so when we have a chance to score we have to take it.
“Last time we played Leeds we hung with them for 65 minutes, we’ve got to make sure we match them for the whole 80 on Sunday. We are a better team than the one that played on the opening day of the season, we know each other better and the combinations are coming together.”
Head coach Brian Noble will be looking for more of the same from his Crusaders side following their convincing win against the Bulls, while former CroNa Shark man Peek says there is a great feeling in the camp following the morale boosting success.
“It was a big game for us on Sunday, obviously being at home there is that extra element of expectation on your shoulders,” he explained. “But it was a good performance and we’re delighted that we got the win over Bradford.
“It gives us a lot of confidence. Things haven’t gone our way in recent weeks so we have gone back to basics.
“Against Bradford we went through our sets, worked hard for each other and put in a big shift defensively.
“In recent weeks our starts haven’t been great, but in the first 20 minutes on Sunday we were ahead and I think that proved the difference.
“It‘s a funny game rugby league. Last game against Harlequins we left too many gaps in defence but against Bradford we worked together and hopefully we can take that confidence into next week.