Shocked Leeds Rhinos star Ash Handley is ready for a tough week on the training ground as he and his team-mates prepare to try to right a few wrongs at Huddersfield on Sunday.
Fresh from signing a new contract through to 2024, the England hopeful, who suffered a knee injury during a pre-season run-out against the Giants, went into his first game of the year at Hull KR on Friday on a high.
But Handley, who was Super League’s top try-scorer with 14 last year and made the Dream Team for the second season running, saw his side suffered a nightmare evening.
Rovers, powered by Kane Linnett’s hat-trick, romped to a 26-6 win, and the 25-year-old admitted: “It was quite embarrassing really. We were all over the place.”
Richard Agar’s injury-hit team have lost four running in all competitions, and Handley, who played fullback rather than winger, added: “We need to be far better.
“We had prepared well, and had a few boys, like myself, back in the side wanting to make a big impact, but it just didn’t happen.
“We were absolutely shocking for the first 15 minutes, and we couldn’t claw it back. What we tossed up just wasn’t good enough.
“There’s a tough week ahead. There will be a pretty harsh review, with some fingers pointed probably, and we’ll analyse what went wrong and work to put things right.
“We know we have to turn it around and do far better at Huddersfield.”
Leeds have also agreed a new contract with Sam Walters, which will keep the 20-year-old forward at Emerald Headingley until 2023.
The Liverpool-born England Academy international joined from Widnes in early 2019. His original contract ran until the end of next season.
Director of rugby Kevin Sinfield said: “Sam was already an England Academy international when he joined us so clearly had potential.
“However, he has worked hard over the last 18 months to improve his game and we are seeing the fruits of that work in the games he has played.”
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