It remains one of Leeds’ darkest nights in recent times: but as the Rhinos and Castleford prepare to meet for the first time since THAT night at the Jungle earlier this season, Ashton Golding is insistent Leeds have not used it as motivation for Sunday’s Magic Weekend finale.
Almost three months have passed since Leeds were beaten 66-10 by Daryl Powell’s side, a result which prompted Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington to declare the subsequent month as vital for all involved with the club.
Leeds responded well, and sit in the top four, just two points shy of the league leaders, going into Sunday’s game. And that resurgence is why Golding says the Rhinos have not dwelled on their hammering at the hands of the Tigers.
“We don’t need motivation,” he admits. “It comes from within; it’s difficult to say but until I came here and spoke to the media I didn’t really think about that night. We weren’t on form and they were good that night, and that’s all you can say about it. Hopefully this time it’ll be us who can showcase what we’re all about.”
Golding also insists that the Rhinos are full of confidence as they look to set the record straight this weekend.
“I marked this down before the start of the season anyway because it’s a local derby and it’s a big game,” he says.
“As a Leeds fan I was truly disappointed after that game at Cas and I was grouchy all week long, but we’re confident going into this one. We’re not singing, we’re not screaming, we’re not dancing: we’re just confident. We’ve been building and this season is a building process; put all the pieces together and we can finish this jigsaw.”
Golding is also hopeful the Magic Weekend will bring the best out of the Rhinos – and the venue has a special connotation for him personally.
“My mum and grandma are from Jarrow, so I’ve got some family up here! My great-grandfather was in the Jarrow Marchers so that’s always a good thing to be able to tell people. I’ve got proud North East roots; they class it as home but I class Yorkshire as my home – Bramley is my home!
“It’s a bit different; you’re up north, in a hotel away from it all and preparing to play. It’s great though; I love the concept and I love how all thee fans get together and become one and prove it’s a proper family sport. It’s special; it’s so big and if you don’t make a final, this can be your final with the venue you’re playing in.
“But it’s two points at the end of the day: you’ve got to remember that.”