The YEP jury have their say ahead of Leeds Rhinos round 8 Super League clash with Wakefield Wildcats.
A game that was expected to be a close contest was anything but. I always thought Leeds Rhinos would be in the draw for round five of the Challenge Cup, but I never thought it would be so easy.
A healthy crowd, for a Cup tie, watched a very one-sided game with Wakefield offering very little as the Rhinos ran in 11 tries. One good thing about Sunday was that the opposing fans were allowed to stand in any part of the ground and weren’t shepherded towards the Western Terrace as happened last year. The view from there isn’t good when the staff from the dugouts are all standing throughout the game.
The opinion of some Wakefield fans seems to be that the team aren’t that bad and the problems are all the coaches’ fault. Ali Lauitiiti was Wakefield’s stand-out player and it was good to see this acknowledged by both sets of fans. When Ali was on the field he certainly kept Kallum Watkins under control down our right-hand side.
The draw for the fifth round of the Challenge Cup threw up another difficult tie for Leeds Rhinos. If this group of players are ever going to win this trophy they are going to have to work very hard for it! They will all need to be playing at the top of their game to progress to the quarter-finals. It would appear that St Helens had a large slice of luck in their game against Huddersfield on Sunday, but hopefully that luck will be with the Rhinos in the next round.
Tomorrow night will probably be another heavy defeat for Wakefield. They seemed to pick up a number of injuries during the game on Sunday and it is difficult to see anything but another two points for Leeds.
Wakefield need to improve a considerable amount and quickly or they could be one of the teams facing relegation at the end of the season.
As the busy Easter period will soon be upon us tomorrow would be the ideal opportunity to rest some of our players such as Kylie Leuluai and Jamie Peacock.
Brad Singleton didn’t play on Sunday so maybe that is the plan.
Ben Jones-Bishop should also be in line for another recall this week and Danny McGuire could get a rest as Liam Sutcliffe is now back at Headingley after his loan spell at Bradford. It will still be nip and tuck at the top of Super League after this weekend’s games as the top two, Saints and Castleford, are playing each other.
If St Helens win, Leeds could go back to second place in the table – if they take the two points against Wakefield Wildcats tomorrow.
Leeds kicked off their Challenge Cup campaign in style, with a comprehensive victory against hapless Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
Wakey, on the back of another heavy defeat, looked shaky from the off and Leeds racked up 60 points, scoring 11 tries from eight different try scorers. Special mentions to Carl Ablett, who is producing his end-of-season form early this year and scored a brace, Mitch Achurch crossed for his second of the season, and Liam Sutcliffe, who seems to have suffered no ill effects from his spell with bottom club Bradford Bulls, also crossed for a try. Leeds’ reward for reaching the next round is a home tie with current league leaders St Helens. Interestingly, Leeds have drawn Super League sides 13 times in the last 14 draws since Brian McDermott took over.
Moving forward, what Leeds really should take from Sunday was not the 60 points scored but the six conceded. The team have now conceded only 72 points in eight games this season, averaging just nine points conceded per game. It is this defensive resolve which will win Leeds a lot of games, starting with the visit of Wakefield to Headingley tomorrow. Concede only six points again and they’ll take two more competition points.
Finally, get well soon to Paul Aiton, he is going to be a massive miss over the next three months and Leeds will certainly suffer without him.
We had a big win in the Cup on Sunday, but what about the draw? St Helens at home will be massive after the last meeting and the BBC will be rubbing their hands together. Tomorrow we play Wakefield at home and you would expect more of the same again in the league.
After the heartbreaking defeat to St Helens the previous week Leeds showed no signs of feeling sorry for themselves with a comfortable 60-6 demolition of local rivals Wakefield on Sunday.
The Rhinos, who have failed to lift the Challenge Cup since 1999, will be looking to finally end that hoodoo which has dogged them for so long.
Being drawn with Huddersfield – sorry, I mean St Helens – in the next round will surely be a cracker of a game. With the tie being played the weekend after Easter it could come down to who has managed their squad the best.
Wakefield visit Headingley tomorrow and will be looking for a much better performance than last week.
It was a very professional and controlled performance by the Rhinos last weekend.
The game was up by half-time so the most pleasing aspects were the desire to score more tries whilst continuing on with the Super League’s best defence. This week, in a repeat of the fixture, complacency is the Rhinos’ only enemy.
With Ryan Bailey back in the squad for the Tetley’s Challenge Cup match last Sunday, the rubbish about him not being left out as punishment looks, to all intents and purposes, blown out the water.
Tomorrow night the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats are in town.
And playing them twice in a week, both sides will have learnt something from Sunday’s cup match at Bell Vue.
With Jamie Jones-Buchanan out for a good two months maybe it’s about time Mitch Achurch gets a good run in the starting 13; he has given flashes in this season as to what he can do for the team. So let’s hope (coach) Brian McDermott gives him his chance now and that he takes it with both hands.