The YEP jury have their say ahead of Leeds Rhinos Challenge Cup quarter final clash against Leigh Centurions.
Leeds Rhinos saved their worst performance of the season for last week’s game against Warrington.
The Rhinos went into the game boasting the best defence in the league with 18 points – by Wigan Warriors – being the most they had conceded in a match.
The inconsistent Wolves turned up in confident mood having shown glimpses in recent weeks of what they are capable of and none more so than the 41-24, demolition they did on St Helens just two weeks earlier at the Magic Weekend.
Leeds were never going to get to the end of the season unbeaten. In a competition and a game as fierce as rugby league it’s highly unlikely, if not impossible, but it’s the manner of the defeat which raises questions.
Are Leeds running out of steam? Have they shot their bolt already? Have teams worked out how to beat them? Or is it just simply a case of Leeds didn’t turn up on the day and got beaten by a much more organised, well-drilled outfit? All questions that need answering and fast if they are to go on and compete for silverware this year.
The only two positives from what was largely a disappointing night for the Rhinos were the performances of Carl Ablett and Zak Hardaker, although Carl was lucky to stay on the field after replays showed him kicking Joel Monaghan in the face as Ablett attempted to stop a try.
Playing behind a beaten pack and half-backs that seemed clueless at times, Zak tried his hardest to get Leeds back into the game, but just could not unlock the rock solid Warrington defence.
Jamie Peacock again made over 50 tackles in a match which is an impressive stat, but should Leeds be constantly relying on a 36-year-old to be making all those tackles and doing so much work in his later years?
I am a massive fan of Jamie Peacock and when it counts and the chips are down there is no other prop-forward I would want than Peacock in my team, but my worry is are Leeds flogging Jamie into the ground before we even get to the business end of the season?
Maybe it is time Brian McDermott started giving Brad Singleton more game time than usual.
Silverware isn’t won in May so why have a 36-year-old playing week in and week out for games Leeds should win without Peacock regardless of how good he is playing?
Leigh are next up in the Challenge Cup for Leeds. The visitors, who have started the season in fine form, will arrive at Headingley with no fear.
Despite Warrington missing a few key first-team players I still travelled with a lot of trepidation.
We got caught out by a patched up St Helens team away, and Wigan at Magic Weekend, but I think both of those defeats were due to lack of a plan B by Brian McDermott. The players gave 100 per cent as they always do, but had the wrong game plan. Mr McDermott was out-coached. Why is it that every time we play a good side he insists on one-pass up-the-middle rugby?
Three times now it’s the same plan, and it’s not good enough. No plan B yet again. Why start with a hooker on the pitch and play Sir Kev there for the first 15 minutes? It puts him out of the game.
Danny McGuire is a Leeds legend, but his kicking on the fifth tackle was woeful and he’s still given the ball. Let’s give Sooty a run in the team. He makes a difference when he gets on the pitch.
If it had not been for Carl Ablett and Zak Hardaker making some great last ditch-tackles, we would have been on a 50-point beating. We seem to go into these games with the mindset of not losing, then after 20 minutes we were 18-0 down and game is about over.
I don’t say this lightly but I think it’s time for some fresh ideas and a change of coach.
If he showed some passion like Shaun Wane, we would see it means as much to him as us, but he shows nothing.
The only positive to come from last Friday’s game was that Warrington scored only six points in the second half.
This week’s Challenge Cup quarter-final against Leigh Centurions could feature an interesting Rhinos team due to suspension and injuries. The team’s desire to win the Cup could prove important.
A great holiday to St Ives meant I missed the Warrington game live.
I had the unfortunate “pleasure” of reading some tweets on my timeline instead and I am so glad the Rhinos players have more belief and support for each other than some so called ‘fans’.
I have since watched it back and our start was simply not good enough, but not the end-of-world disaster some were portraying.
No-one will have been more upset than the players. The boys will no doubt review and move on to Leigh and winning a place in the Challenge Cup semi-final.
I believe we are still on track for a great year. Keep calm and support the boys.
This was the fourth season in a row Leeds have lost this round fixture, including a 50-8 defeat to Wigan. I remember that particularly painful defeat and last Friday’s will long remain in the memory too. In summary: abject, panicked, structureless, lacking in a game plan and a total failure to contain the opposition.
Last Friday just wasn’t good enough for a side of Leeds Rhinos’ stature.
Warrington bossed the game from start to finish and didn’t let us into the game at all. Definitely the worst we’ve played this season. Hopefully this isn’t the mid-season blip we usually have.
We face a tough Challenge Cup tie tomorrow against Leigh Centurions. They are having a superb season in the Championship, currently first and the only unbeaten team in the UK. I’m looking forward to seeing Ryan Brierley play, a player that has been linked with a move to several Super League clubs, including ourselves.
Hopefully the lads don’t underestimate Leigh and get that semi-final place booked.