Our Rhinos Jury have their say on the victory over St Helens and tonight’s clash with Castleford.
It was good to see us get our second victory of the season. The game was not up to the usual high standards of a Leeds versus St Helens game that I love to watch.
I could not believe my eyes at the scoreboard after 12 minutes, when we were 16-0 ahead. When Saints came back to take the lead I did fear the worse. Carl Ablett’s try before half-time was crucial and keeping St Helens to nil for the second half was very pleasing to see.
Ash Handley was my man of the match, he loves playing St Helens does the lad. Jamie Jones-Buchanan led the team in the pack and scored a great try on his 300th Super League game for Leeds. We look so much better with a proper hooker on the pitch and I thought Falloon had a good game.
On to Easter weekend, first up a trip to Castleford tonight. The Tigers will be fired up for this one especially after last week’s hammering at the hands of Warrington.
Daryl Powell has done a fantastic job at Wheldon Road, and should be credited with the early foundations of our golden generation.
There is no better feeling for a Castleford fan than their team beating Leeds. Wheldon Road should be bouncing like it usually is and I can’t wait. We will fill the Railway End.
They might have lots of injuries but I expect the Tigers to be fired up for this one. We need to watch out for Luke Gale who I thought was very unlucky to not play for England in last year’s Test series against New Zealand.
Wakefield come to Headingley on Easter Monday and I hope we use the extra day’s rest to our advantage.
The Easter period is very hard for the players and I hope we don’t think before the game that we will get the two points just for turning up. If we do then Wakefield might spring a surprise and beat us.
Chris Chester has got himself a very tough task in rebuilding Wakefield’s season after Brian Smith left.
He does have some players who can more than compete at Super League level and he needs to get them playing as a team.
I must admit that I wasn’t overly optimistic when I saw the Leeds 17 before the game against Saints on Friday night. However, in starting a game exceptionally better than the opposition, through racing into that early 16-0 lead, Leeds finally excelled to kick start 2016 at long last.
Saints, on the back of three straight wins and with their plethora of huge forwards, came to face a Leeds team low on confidence. On paper, the Leeds forwards were much lighter, but on the pitch they muscled up and were excellent. Despite some unjust criticism after the Wigan game, I thought Beau Falloon was superb and his distribution ignited Leeds’ attack and also helped bring back the Adam Cuthbertson of 2015. Outside of the pack, Ash Handley and Liam Sutcliffe were also impressive.
On to this week now, and my favourite part of the season – the Easter fixtures – and two winnable games in the space of five days that could really pull Leeds back into the mix.
Castleford have dipped away in their last two games, so Leeds need to pounce early and start the game in a similar manner to last Friday, as Luke Gale and his Tigers are always determined to get one over on us.
Wakefield also appear to be in a developmental phase under their new coach Chris Chester. Fingers crossed for four points!
Last Friday Leeds got only their second victory in six games, although it finally feels like the season has finally begun.
Given the Rhinos’ difficulty in getting over the line this year no-one would have predicted them to be up 16-0 after only 11 minutes against the Saints, but off the back of some quick thinking and skilful play we came out of the blocks firing which, in the end, won Leeds the game.
It was not a high quality match, but it was a tough encounter that’ll help Leeds prepare for the upcoming gruelling Easter fixtures.
The period begins with a trip to the Jungle which is always a difficult match, Castleford always step up and perform against Leeds and this year will be no exception.
What a difference a week makes! The first 10 minutes of Friday’s game erased all the demons of 2016 so far and proved how Leeds had missed Carl Ablett. Wins against local rivals Cas and Wakefield over Easter could see Rhinos in the top half of Super League – where they belong.
It was a a much-improved performance against Saints helped by having players back and in their correct positions.
Falloon’s presence helped shore up the middle of the field, adding tackling and direction and Galloway had his best game in a Leeds shirt. Hall’s injury was a blow during the game but I felt they coped with the disruption. It looks like Briscoe will be returning from injury this week. There are two winnable games this weekend starting against Castleford.
They are struggling at the moment with injuries and form. Hopefully we can build on last week with another win and start climbing the table. On to Wakefield on Monday. They won’t be easy but we should be far too strong especially as we seem to be getting key players back.
It’s never dull when we play St Helens and Friday was no exception. A few handbags, plenty of tries and, overall, a much more convincing performance – particularly in attack. A few things to work on going into tonight’s game at Castleford, but I think we should be confident of putting in a good performance.