The penny has dropped for Leeds, believes Cunningham

St Helens coach Keiron Cunningham believes the penny has dropped at defending champions Leeds – and says he’s expecting them to be a real challenge for his side on Friday night.

The Saints host the Rhinos looking for their first win in four at home after Langtree Park losses to Catalans, Wigan and Hull FC.

And he admits he was hoping their early-season blip would have carried on into this game, but says that win against Hull for the Rhinos last Friday showed that they will pose a dangerous test for his side.

“I thought they were brilliant,” he said. “They should have beaten Salford the week before – if there had been a video referee that night, things could have been different.

“In their games this year they have been fighting, battling and have been edged out by a try or so. That Leeds spirit never dies, regardless of which players leave and which players come in, they are just finding a different way of playing without those players they have lost.

“I think the penny sort of dropped for them a bit last Friday, I was hoping it would last another few weeks.”

Cunningham is also hopeful that a number of returning bodies will help his side’s cause on Friday: as Jonny Lomax, Atelea Vea and Mark Percival could all come into the reckoning.

“Getting a few back will definitely help the cause,” Cunningham said. “Once you get something that resembles your starting 13 back, you know you’re going to be a lot more composed in certain situations.”