Peek: Crusaders much improved

Leeds Rhinos will face a much improved Crusaders side than the one they met on the opening day of the season.

That’s the view of Aussie Prop Adam Peek as Crusaders prepare to tackle the reigning Engage Super League champions at Headingly on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).

Brian Noble’s side head to West Yorkshire full of confidence after last weekend’s 40-22 dismantling of Bradford Bulls.

It was Wrexham outfit’s fist win in four and has put them right back in the mix for a play-off birth.

But Crusaders face an entirely different kettle of fish on Sunday when they take on Leeds. The Rhinos have recovered from a difficult start to the season and are currently in scintillating form, having won their last seven games and are currently fifth in the Engage Super League table.

The two sides 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 6-34.

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, said Peek. “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 eighty on Sunday. We are a better team than the one that played 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 the convincing win over the Bulls. And former Cronulla Shark Peek says there is a great feeling in the camp following the morale boosting win on Sunday.

“It has been a few weeks since our last win. It was a big game for us on Sunday, obviously being at home there is that extra element of expectation on your shoulders. But it was a good performance and we’re delighted that we got the win over Bradford.” Peek added

“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 twenty minutes on Sunday we were ahead and I think that proved the difference.

“It‘s a funny game is 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. Leeds are probably the most dangerous attacking team in the Super League, players like Danny Maguire and Brent Webb can create an opportunity out of nothing so we realise we will have to be really sharp defence wise.”

“We just take it week by week. Obviously it’s becoming a bit of a cliché but if we can just get a few back-to-back wins who knows? It would be nice to go to Leeds and beat them on their home turf but it is going to be a challenge, they’re defending champions so we’ve got to make sure we go there and compete. Brian will be happy with that.”

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