Our YEP Jury have their say on the victory over Catalans and tomorrow’s Derby with Wakefield.
They say a week is a long time in politics, after last Friday’s game against Catalans the same could be said of rugby league.
Previously I said that the team lacked spirit and leadership, none more so than against Castleford the previous week. I was pleased to be proved wrong by a team which right from the off seemed to be extremely motivated and determined to right the wrongs of earlier matches. Perhaps Mr Hetherington should write an open letter more regularly.
The Rhinos scrambled well in defence, as Catalans, benefiting from a rather eccentric display by James Child, attacked strongly, (Child is a referee who whilst knowing the rules of the game, doesn’t really know how to apply them).
Adam Cuthbertson is slowly taking on the mantle of ‘pack leader’ and his ‘go forward’ was a great influence on the game as well as inspiring his fellow forwards.
It was good to see Rhinos putting together some good combinations with the ball which augurs well for the season, shades of the golden years.
The old men of the team, Rob Burrow and Danny McGuire, turned the clock back and produced a display reminiscent of their glory days, long may they do so. Our early season has been sketchy to say the least, but last Friday showed how Leeds used to play and, although not perfect, was good to watch.
There is an old saying, “one swallow does not a summer make”, in other words which of the last two performances can be expected during the rest of the season? Will we have further ‘Castlefords’ or further ‘Catalans’?
The next few matches will give us some guide, Wakefield at Headingley tomorrow should be a home win, whilst the trip to Huddersfield the following week could go either way as they seem to be our jinx team, then of course World Club champions Wigan.
The ability of Liam Sutcliffe to play just about anywhere unfortunately tends to work to his detriment, as he is unable to command a regular position. My personal opinion would suggest he operates best at “thirteen” in a Sean O’Loughlin role, but with hopefully the imminent return of Brett Ferris, JJB and Stevie Ward, he will probably drop back to the bench.
What a difference a week can make. To go from what we saw at Castleford to a ruthless and convincing performance against Catalans last Friday was both unexpected and pleasing, but most importantly a great response to Leeds’ worst result in many years.
The manner of the win was the sweetest part for me. I, along with many others, have previously been critical of the Rhinos for failing to put their stamp on games in which they have had the upper hand, so for them to put 46 points past a good Catalans Dragons side, who had only conceded 40 overall in their three other games this season, was very satisfying.
The rugby that was played, particularly in the second half, was enjoyable to watch with offloads and a more expansive style making Leeds much more dangerous.
Adam Cuthbertson played a big part in that with what was probably his best display since 2015, while Jimmy Keinhorst impressed again and was my man of the match.
It’s crucial that the Rhinos don’t now rest on their laurels and continue to improve.
One win does not mean that all of the problems have disappeared, but if Leeds approach tomorrow’s game with Wakefield with the same attitude and play with the same confidence, I’d like to think we will have just too much for Chris Chester’s team.
An improvement of epic proportions. The performance against Catalans was the polar opposite to that against Castleford Tigers the previous week.
Jimmy Keinhorst, Matt Parcell and Adam Cuthbertson were on another level and the partnership between Parcell and Cuthbertson in particular is something for the Rhinos fans to relish.
Wakefield Trinity are up next tomorrow in a local derby – the Rhinos need to maintain their attacking attitude. The hard work of Joel Moon in the halves against Catalans really released captain Danny McGuire who seemed to roll back the years.
The only worry ahead of tomorrow is the lack of forwards the Rhinos have coming into the game.
Last week’s win over the Dragons posed more questions than answers for the Headingley faithful. Was that display only triggered by the post match kerfuffle of the defeat at Castleford ? Wakefield’s reasonable start to the season and the incentive of playing their big city rivals will test Leeds’ threadbare starting XIII.
Well what a difference a week makes!
The sign of a good side is bouncing back from a disappointment and what a way to do it.
We produced in my eyes as good as a display I’ve seen for 12 months, defending our line with huge passion and aggression and more importantly, attacked with a real purpose and confidence.
Matt Parcell had his best game to date, Ashton Golding continues to impress and Adam Cuthbertson looks back to his best.
This week sees a big local derby against an in-form Wakefield side. Another win would see us in a nice spot in the ladder looking down on teams which is always nice.
Roll on tomorrow night’s game, I can’t wait.
The Rhinos have laid to rest my concerns of an inability to score tries with last week’s game. They’ve shown that they are still a very real threat in Super League this year and shouldn’t be underestimated. Now they need to build on this win against Wakefield and start gaining some momentum.