IT IS now seven wins from their last eight games for Leeds Rhinos, but they made hard work of seeing off a resilient Hull KR side in a tense encounter at Headingley Carnegie.
The 22-18 success was Leeds’ second in the First Utility Qualifiers and they are edging closer to securing a Super League place for 2017.
Here are five talking points from the game.
1: Rhinos were improving when former NRL hooker of the year James Segeyaro joined the squad last month, but are unbeaten with him in the team and his arrival has illustrated the value of a specialist acting-half. He poached two tries from close-range in the closing stages against Hull KR and was also tough on defence, broke the line at least once and was smart with his distribution.
2: Leeds were losing games on goal kicks at the start of the year, but that situation has been reversed.
Taking two points from kickable penalties is the sensible option for a team in Rhinos’ situation and now Liam Sutcliffe has settled into the role they have a reliable marksman in their ranks. Sutcliffe is also growing as a full-back and his outstanding effort to prevent Adam Walker getting the ball down over the Leeds line in the first half was an important moment in the game.
3: Hull KR have shared the tries with Rhinos twice in three weeks, without getting any competition points. They began the middle-eights as many pundits’ tip for the million pound game, but should be good enough to avoid that if they repeat their defensive effort from last Friday and add some polish with ball in hand.
4: It was good to see Stevie Ward warming up as 18th man, less than a week after resuming full training for the first time in 11 months. It would be a risk bringing him back into the side this weekend, on London’s artificial pitch, but the home game against Salford on September 2 is a realistic target for his playing comeback.
5: Friday’s crowd of 14,180 was impressive for a middle-eights game in the holiday season. Rhinos’ fans have stayed loyal through a tough year and deserve to be rewarded with at least one big signing in the off-season.