SMITH HAILS REJUVENATED FURNER
Veteran Furner turns on style in Rhinos derby win Veteran forward David Furner was today saluted by Leeds Rhinos coach Tony Smith.
Veteran Furner turns on style in Rhinos derby win Veteran forward David Furner was today saluted by Leeds Rhinos coach Tony Smith. The 33-year-old took over at loose-forward from injured skipper Kevin Sinfield and responded with a 16-point haul from two tries and four goals in Rhinos’ 36-12 win at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats. Leeds’ eighth straight victory took them five points clear at the top of Tetley’s Super League and Smith said: "Dave scored nearly as many tries as he kicked goals. "Our goal kicking was a bit off, but he looked like a 20-something again – he was sensational. "That was as good as I have seen Dave play for a while. With Kevin out I did speak to him before the game about his responsibility. "He is a bit of a leader in the team anyway, even when Kevin is there, but he stepped up a notch and it came out in the way he played, I was pleased for him." Smith was also happy with stand-in skipper Keith Senior. He said: "Keith scored two tries and brought up his 300th point for Leeds. It was his first time as captain and it’s his birthday today, so that was a great way to celebrate." Smith was "pleased" with Rhinos’ overall display. "It was a good effort in a hard-fought match," he said. "There were a few times I thought Wakefield were ready to hit the canvas, but they kept getting back up and throwing more at us. "It was a nice tough game." Wakefield scored two tries to end Rhinos’ run of away clean sheets and Smith said: "We are dropping our standards! "I’m a bit tongue in cheek when I say that, but they got one from a dummy-half ‘sneak’ so we will do some work on that and tighten up in that area. "Wakefield throw a fair bit at you and I thought we did a pretty good job. They are a big offload team and they look for a lot of offloads, particularly Dave Solomona. He got one in the first-half and maybe a couple in the second, so we did a pretty good job on their danger people. "Defensively we were pretty sound even though we let in two tries. We made plenty of breaks, but Wakefield scrambled well and they got back and stopped a try here and there, so all credit to them." Rhinos conceded just two penalties, both in the second-half, and Smith said: "Our discipline was good, we work hard on that and we don’t like to give away any cheap ground. "We want to make the opposition work for it and the way to do that is by having discipline, getting back with the referee and getting onside. "That is important to us. Our players get penalised for giving away penalties, not in any monetary way but when they are at training." Wildcats’ opening try saw Rhinos go behind for the first time in six matches and Smith was impressed by the way his side responded. "That hasn’t happened to us too much, but we had a great response with a try in the next set," he said. "We got into an arm wrestle and we had some patience at times. We put some sets together in the first-half and built some pressure. "We got three tries in the first-half and that was crucial for us." Rhinos suffered an injury blow with hooker Matt Diskin carried off mid-way through the second-half. Smith said: "He’s got a bump on the leg and a couple of stitches in his eye as well. It is a bit early to know, but it was a bang rather than ligament damage." Wildcats team boss Shane McNally believes this could be Rhinos’ year for Grand Final glory. He said: "I don’t want to put the mockers on them. Last year I said they’d win Super League and I don’t want to say it again, but at the moment they are in fantastic form. "They are playing full of confidence, they have got strike players across the park and among the players sitting on the bench. "Someone can be out and they put someone else in who is just as dangerous. They are a tough side. "No doubt they will have a bit of a flat period during the year – I hope it’s the next time we play them."