Senior: Leeds feeling the pressure

Leeds centre Keith Senior has admitted the defending champions are feeling the pressure ahead of Thursday’s derby against Bradford.

The Rhinos have endured a faltering start to their Engage Super League campaign losing five of their opening eight games, but the 33-year-old believes that the current champions can turn their season around with a victory over Bradford.

Senior said: “There’s a bit of pressure on us but we tend to have that at Leeds anyway. The desire and the expectations of the spectators is something you get used to.

“It’s not been the best of starts, but it’s still early on in the season. It’s a long season, so we’re not worried too much. It can all turn around in one game, so it can easily be turned around.”

The former England and Great Britain international believes the players relish the prospect of a Leeds v Bradford derby and is confident that the Easter fixture will live up to expectations.

“They’re great local derbies. There’s been a bit of a mismatch the last few years with teams faltering in form,” he said “Bradford have made a few great signings, it should be a cracker on Thursday and we’re really looking forward to it.

“It can be a bit nerve wracking, a big game, a hostile crowd. It’s the type of game that you enjoy playing and that’s what makes Rugby League so special..”

The centre is in his 12th season with Leeds and despite the post-match aches and pains, the veteran of 519 games is has no plans to hang up his boots just yet.

Senior said: “I’m not writing myself off yet. There’s an elite list of players who started in Super League back in 1996 and who are still playing and it would be an achievement to be the last one on that list. I don’t see why I can’t.

“The day after the game, it hits me a little bit hard. But after the Bradford game, we don’t have much choice. We’ve got to get straight on and play over the Easter weekend again so it’s a tough ask.

“But when you’re doing this job for your living and what you love, and it’s great to do so you just get on with it.”

On Thursday, the Leeds Rhinos centre will line up against another veteran in Steve Menzies and Senior is quick to pay tribute to the Bradford second row who amassed 349 first grade games in the NRL.

“I enjoy the competitive side of it. Everybody when you get to a certain age, they seem to write you off so it’s a great testament to myself and Steve to get to the ripe old age of what we are and to still be classed as at the top of our game which is a great achievement to us both.”

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