Our YEP Jury have their say on the victory over Huddersfield and tonight’s clash at Hull FC.
Another inconsistent performance and another poor display from a referee, but luckily we came away with the win thanks to Paul Aiton’s first try in a Rhinos shirt right at the death to maintain our unbeaten start and end the night top of Super League.
After taking a comfortable lead we then allowed Huddersfield back into the game and found ourselves in an arm wrestle of a contest which could have proved really costly.
Carl Ablett, who for me is one of the most underrated players in the league and doesn’t get the credit he deserves all the time, had another strong performance, whilst Stevie Ward impressed yet again.
But I, like many others was shocked to see Rob Burrow left out of the squad again.
Hopefully it’s just to keep him fresh with a tough run of fixtures coming up.
We are a better and more dangerous team when he’s in the squad as he adds a different dimension to our game and even though he’s over the age of 30, is still one of, if not the best player at his position in Super League. The sooner he’s back in the team the better.
In our opening three games, we have been too slow at the play the ball area and it’s letting teams off the hook by allowing them to set up their defence.
Teams like St Helens punish their opposition by playing smart, fast rugby and if we want to find ourselves in the play-off mix when the league splits then we need to start doing the same.
Another dreaded Thursday night game awaits us this week, with an away trip at Hull FC where we haven’t won since 2011 and despite them winning only once so far this season they will make this a real tough contest.
We need to bring our A-game as Hull have some game changers such as Jamie Shaul and Tom Lineham who could make it a long night of the office if we can’t keep them quiet.
The trip will be worthwhile though as a fourth win on the bounce would see the team return to West Yorkshire sitting at the top of the Super League again, even if it’s only for 24 hours at least and also ending our run of defeats at the KC Stadium.
Well, it was a strange game last Thursday night at Headingley as the Rhinos finally beat the Giants in a close encounter.
It seemed a very tense game, a bit like a play-off match as Leeds took control early on and steamrollered into an 18-0 lead.
I sat back and thought “that’s it, we’re going to cruise tonight.”
How wrong could I be?
The Giants came back at us, pulling a couple of tries back before half-time and, even though Leeds scored immediately after the break through a great run from the ever-impressive Stevie Ward with Tom Briscoe touching down giving Leeds a 22-12 lead, Huddersfield weren’t done yet.
They came back once more as Brett Ferres, who is always good for a try, was one of the scorers as the Giants took the lead.
And it seemed Leeds had thrown the game away due to some lapse of concentration in defence.
Then, once more the tide turned as Paul Aiton scored his first try for Leeds in the closing minutes of the game.
And it proved to be decisive as myself and the rest of the Leeds faithful breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Hull FC up next, and I don’t see why we can’t make it four wins from four against an opposing team lacking consistency.
Relief is what I felt after our narrow win against Huddersfield.
After a promising start to the game, with 10 minutes to go Huddersfield looked the likelier team to claim the two points.
Paul Aiton’s try capped off a man-of-the-match performance, but I wouldn’t have been surprised to have seen it go to Tom Briscoe, Ryan Hall or the again-impressive Adam Cuthbertson.
I echo Brian McDermott’s post-match comments regarding the state of the ruck. It seems it has become the norm for defenders to interfere with the tackled player even when they have regained their feet – not just Huddersfield but the game in general.
As for Leeds, it’s Hull FC’s cup final tonight and they’ve had an impressive start.
Leeds started very well attacking from the first whistle, then they went away from what they were doing so well, beginning with dumb off-loads.
And indiscipline gave away dumb penalties, and goal-line defence is an issue.
A lot to work on, therefore, for the game at Hull.
Carl Ablett put us in the lead within six minutes, followed by great play, seeing Adam Cuthbertson and Ryan Hall go over shortly afterwards.
The Rhinos kept Giants down in their own end in the first half. We then gave away penalties, allowing Huddersfield too many chances back into the game.
The second half started well with Stevie Ward going over. However we then switched off and made the game difficult for ourselves. Huddersfield fought back to lead the game. Paul Aiton then scored his first try, Kevin Sinfield converted and we got a home win.
It certainly was a game of two halves. We had some great plays in this match, and were working better than in previous games. We need to stick at it for tonight’s game against Hull FC.
A bit too close for my liking, but finally we could celebrate a victory over the Huddersfield Giants!
We overcame a stubborn side after starting brightly and then being sucked into a dogfight for the two points.
We still need to be more clinical to close games out.