LEEDS RHINOS are still reeling from their worst Super League defeat.
After successive wins Leeds seemed to be heading in the right direction, but Castleford Tigers’ 66-10 demolition job at the Jungle highlighted how far off the top sides Rhinos now are.
Here are five talking points from the game.
1: Is time running out for Brian McDermott?
Chief executive Gary Hetherington says McDermott – the longest-serving and most successful coach in Leeds’ history – is strong enough to turn things around, but much of the fans’ anger over last week’s result was directed at the team boss.
This is McDermott’s seventh season in charge and Rhinos have bounced back from poor results and bad runs previously during his reign. Perhaps he can inspire a similar revival, but at the moment it would be hard to argue he is getting the best out of his players.
2: Coaches always take the brunt of the blame when things go wrong, but questions also need to be asked about recruitment.
In the off-season only three players were added to a squad which finished ninth last year and one of those – Matt Parcell – was a necessary replacement after the saviour of 2016, James Segeyaro, walked away.
It was obvious last season Leeds’ needed an attacking half-back to complement their existing pivots. Finding someone of the necessary quality is tough, but at some stage Rhinos’ management will have to roll the dice.
3: Rhinos have scored 51 points in four Betfred Super League games, which is nowhere near good enough.
4: Five players who took part in the previous week’s win over Salford were unavailable for the Castleford game. It would probably have been closer had they featured, but the players brought in were all from Leeds’ full-time squad and on last Thursday’s evidence the current player pool simply is not strong enough.
5: It is a sobering thought that Rhinos have two more fixtures to come against Tigers in Super League.
At the moment Cas are streets ahead in every department.