The YEP jury make their predictions ahead of Bradford Bulls v Leeds Rhinos.
Last Friday night at Headingley was billed as JP Day, to commemorate 500 career games for Jamie Peacock.
JP, for me, epitomises everything that is great about the Leeds club.
It’s as plain as can be that the work ethic, approach to life, sport and the desire to continually improve and win that Peacock, and others like Kevin Sinfield, have is now a part of the fabric of the club.
It means that when the club signs new players, like Joel Moon, Tom Briscoe and Paul Aiton or youngsters progress into the first team like Stevie Ward, Brad Singleton and Liam Sutcliffe they are immediately immersed into the culture and soon begin showing the same traits.
I firmly believe Leeds’ success over the past 10 years has been down to players like Peacock and Sinfield who, by their own approach to the game and to life, set the standards for others to follow. After all, who wouldn’t want to be a third as successful as these two?
Once again Leeds defence was something to behold against Wakefield. It’s now only 78 points conceded in nine games and this was by a team missing defensive machines Paul Aiton, JJB, Brett Delaney and Zak Hardaker. Defence is going to be the key this season and if Leeds are going to win trophies they’ll need to continue in the same vain. With ball in hand there were plenty of tricks, flicks, off loads and ranging passes and some super tries scored.
Tonight we visit Odsal, and continuing the ethic and cultural theme, we visit a club whose culture and ethic has been destroyed by off-field activities. Having been badly run for a number of years, the heart of Bradford Bulls has been destroyed.
The players have to be respected, as do all players who take a rugby league field, but their dwindling crowds and support come from behind the scenes failures. Gone are the days of massive crowds, fireworks and “Bull-Mania” and it’s now more quarter-full, dilapidated stadia owned by someone else, a dodgy PA system and the Championship beckoning. It’s a massive game for Bradford fans, their cup final if you like, but for me I’m looking for two more competition points.
But as Leeds sit second in the table on 13 points and Bradford sit bottom on minus two it’s an opportunity to heap more misery on our previously noisy neighbours.
It’s going to busy as we host Salford on Monday, but the squad is more than capable of taking four points over the Easter period and hopefully, if Saints slip up, close the gap on the League Leaders.
I can’t wait for the games, bring on Easter!
It was good to see Liam Sutcliffe starting last week at stand-off against Wakefield, with Danny McGuire given a rest.
With Sutcliffe’s performance, McGuire might find it hard to get back into the squad. He showed versatility going into full-back when BJB got injured. Joel Moon had a cracking game also, playing centre and going into stand-off. Mitch Achurch was very impressive with by far his best game in a Leeds shirt. This week is a busy part of the season.
Tonight we play Bradford away, who are still looking to get out of minus points.
Then Monday we play Salford at home, who are hit and miss this season. Hopefully we get the two wins.
Leeds Rhinos made it two wins out of two against a struggling Wakefield side last Friday night.
The Rhinos had made the day JP500 day in honour of legendary prop Jamie Peacock, who was making his 500th career appearance in rugby league.
In a sport that is so physically demanding on the body that is a fine achievement by any standards.
It came as no surprise that in the second half Rob Burrow’s little kick through was pounced upon by forward Peacock to score what will surely be one of the easiest tries of his glittering career.
The only real down side of the night came when Ben Jones-Bishop had to be stretchered off the field of play, but thankfully, he was given the all clear later on.
A special mention also must go to Ali Lauitiiti, who limped off early in the first half with what looked a bad knee injury.
I for one hope that is not the last time we see him on a rugby league pitch, get well soon Ali.
The Easter period is up next for us, a great time for fans who get to see two games in a matter of days, but not such a good time for players and coaches.
Leeds make the short journey to Odsal tonight to play the Bradford Bulls.
The Bulls, who sit bottom of Super League, will be looking to get one over the old enemy tonight.
Another straight-forward training session for the boys last week, with Wakefield offering very little in the way of attacking threat.
As previously stated these sorts of games do very little for the sport’s image. It does, however, allow the Rhinos to ease nicely into the Easter period and two games in four days.
Last Friday saw Leeds once again outplay Wakefield.
It was JP day and Jamie Peacock dutifully scored a quirky second-half try. The only negative of the night was seeing Ben Jones-Bishop taken off the field on a stretcher. Easter is next with Bradford and Salford our opponents. Four points is a definite possibility.
A massive thank you to Jamie Peacock for 500 appearances.
He is a Leeds legend and I’ve almost forgotten he used to be a Bull! He’s going to be irreplaceable when the day comes he hangs up his boots. And 200 up for Ian Kirke too, a special night for him as well.
Will we ever get the truth about Ryan Bailey being sent to Hawks? My information was they had a massive row after he missed a day training and he was sent away, as punishment. Why can’t the club tell us paying fans the truth about what’s going on at our club? After all it’s us that makes it.
Bulls away tomorrow should be two points, but it’s a local derby and they are fighting for their lives, so you just never know.