Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds Rhinos’ victory at Catalans Dragons and ahead to Sunday’s Challenge Cup tie against Barrow Raiders.
There’s lots of chat amongst Leeds fans at the moment around the futures of stalwarts Rob Burrow and Danny McGuire.
Perhaps having been through the pain of the triple retirement of Sinfield, Peacock and Leuluai they are just preparing themselves for the loss of two more club legends.
However, this time the chat is more about whether they are ready for their retirement and do they still offer what they once did to the team as part of the golden generation?
For the record, I think Danny McGuire is a magnificent rugby league player.
After 2004 I wanted to name my first-born after him. My wife, however, was concerned ‘he might go to Bradford like Iestyn Harris’ so we settled on Oliver!
Anyway, the point is McGuire and Burrow have remained at Leeds, won copious amounts of trophies and their performances on Saturday against Catalans told me they still have a lot to offer.
What the club need to do is manage the transition better than they did in 2016 post Sinfield and JP. If the answer is Lilley, Aston, Sutcliffe or A N Other I hope they have the plan in place for when the day does come.
On to Barrow, rest as many as you can, put in an 80-minute performance and ensure our ball is in the bag for the next round.
Anyone else thrilled by Saturday’s game? Catalans away will always be a tough game and they proved that early on.
To see Leeds go behind on points but to later rally and steal the win from behind gives my heart hope. The Leeds of last year wouldn’t, in my opinion, have had the team character to turn that game around.
Add to that that they had the added pressure of needing a win after a loss, and it shows yet more grit and determination.
The stand-out player, for me, would be Danny McGuire. His kick choices gave the team the opportunities they needed. The game control was just spectacular.
On Sunday we are back to the Challenge Cup and approaching the round as a Leeds team that is growing in both confidence and ability.
With Leeds pulling off a robbery in Perpignan worthy of a Pink Panther plot, the win merely continues to gloss over some of the team’s underlying issues.
Even with Leeds having to chase the game, many fans were left bemused by the decision to name Jordan Lilley on the bench and then not use him to the detriment of the other forwards.
Sunday’s game sees a return to cup action and, for a change, the Loiners have managed to land a lower-ranked team with a place in the quarter-finals at stake. The game is not without its dilemmas … rest too many players and there’s a real risk of ‘doing a Huddersfield’.
A decent 80 minute-performance, with good game management is the least that should be expected.
Rhinos were second best for large parts in Perpignan but an inspired last 15 minutes meant we came away with two huge points. Sunday’s Challenge Cup meeting with Barrow should be straightforward, but I am hoping for a more complete performance than we saw against Doncaster last month.
What a vital two points that could turn out to be.
After the previous week’s disappointing display I was rather nervous away the daunting trip to Catalans Dragons on Saturday especially without the England duo along with Brett Ferres, Carl Ablett and Mitch Garbutt who are all key men.
With 29 minutes remaining and 10 points adrift along with us seemingly falling foul of the referee’s whistle we managed to show true grit and found a way to win the game, club legends Rob Burrow and captain Danny McGuire producing the goods when we really needed it.
With the Challenge Cup game up next against Barrow Raiders, it’s a chance to rest a few tired bodies with the big one against Castleford at Magic on the horizon.
Gutsy would probably sum up the Rhinos in Perpignan. Last season, facing a 10-point deficit in the second half, we would have conceded even more before the final whistle. Well-led by captain McGuire and ‘half-back partner’ Cuthbertson, the Rhinos dug deep to pull off a remarkable win.