Leeds Rhinos: YEP Jurors have their say on the Easter programme

Castleford's Justin Carney tackles Rhinos Ash Handley.
Castleford's Justin Carney tackles Rhinos Ash Handley.
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Our YEP Jury look back on Leeds Rhinos successful Easter double header and ahead to Sunday’s clash at Salford Red Devils.

GRAHAM POULTER

Well, that was an Eggtastic Easter results wise for Leeds Rhinos.

Firstly, starting with a professional performance from every one of the players in the well deserved victory at Castleford.

It was a tough physical game on a heavy pitch, but we always were going to win with the class of player that we have in our ranks.

We played some great stuff at times, and we kept Cas at bay with some great defending.

A very good performance again from Ash Handley, who looks very comfortable under the high ball, and Brad Singleton does run some excellent, intelligent lines.

Then Wakefield came to Headingley. We changed the team around, which for me we had to do. We need to use the squad wisely and the guys that came in are more than capable of holding their own.

The first half wasn’t much to get excited about despite us scoring some good tries and Wakefield were dogged. Their spirit was great.

If we’d have stepped up a gear then it would have been a different first half.

In the second half we still played as we did in the first half, which for me was good considering the heavy pitch we played on at Castleford. Good management of the players by the coaching team.

We were never in danger of losing to Wakefield. In a game like that, we just have to do enough without being thrilling. We don’t have to play in fifth gear.

So, on to Sunday’s game at Salford. They are much improved recently, but will be without some key players due to suspension.

I feel confident in how we’re performing in both attack and defence. It is all coming together nicely which I’ve always said that it would do.

We will have too much for Salford and it is great to have Sir Kev back in the team, to have the direction that he gives us.

We haven’t done too badly though in his absence. Liam Sutcliffe is learning so much from him, though his goal kicking needs to be practised much more, going by some of the kickable ones that he’s missed.

I’m not getting too excited about the position we are in, as we know how quickly it can all change. But it’s good that we’re gaining a good level of consistency in our game at present.

JAMIE SMITH

A week that started off with the shock news that our captain Sir Kev will be leaving us at the end of the season concluded with two wins against our Yorkshire rivals.

A hard-fought win in difficult conditions at Castleford, despite losing Ryan Hall to an early sin-bin, opened up the Easter period in the perfect way. Adam Cuthbertson shone once again and is proving to be an excellent signing, with Ash Handley showing that he is more than capable of playing at this level.

On Monday, despite a lot of pressure in the opening exchanges, we couldn’t pull away from Wakefield and they made a real fight of it.

But as the half wore on our class showed and we deservedly went in at the break with a comfortable lead, before finishing the job in the second half by adding another 18 points.

It was fitting as well that two legends of the club passed personal milestones in front of the home crowd – Sinfield passed 4,000 points and Burrow passed 1,000 points.

Sunday’s game has all the makings of being a really good contest, especially with Salford’s recent turn of form which sees them sitting third in the table.

Setting the tone early will be key and a hard-fought eight-point victory will see us end the day at least four points clear at the top of Super League.

CRAIG TARBOTTON

We couldn’t have asked for a better Easter period as we won two from two and went four points clear at the top of the Super League.

First up was an away trip to Castleford, who have been a bit up and down this year. Leeds looked comfortable throughout with Sutcliffe, Cuthbertson and young Ash Handley impressing once more up against ‘The Beast’ Justin Carney.

Wakefield came to visit on Monday. Defending was non-existent in the first half but Leeds gradually took control. Kallum Watkins was on fine form.

And it was good to see Rob Burrow starting at No 7 and Kevin Sinfield returning and slotting in at loose-forward.

Salford up next. It’ll be a tough game and I expect us to edge a close contest.

ANNE BOSANQUET

What a cracking Easter weekend, leaving us four points clear at the top.

The derby against Castleford was tight. Our defence was spot on though and we pushed for 80 minutes. We had a dominant home win against Wakefield, seeing Sinfield and Burrow hit personal goals.

JON WINTER

Two wins from two and a four-point lead after the Easter games made it a perfect few days for Leeds.

It started off with a great win away at Cas, a game which saw the Leeds forwards dominate – Singleton, Peacock, Cuthbertson, Ward and Aiton in particular carrying on their great form. They were led around the park by Danny McGuire, who seems to be thriving on being the Leeds captain at the minute.

Wakefield were next. The ‘second round’ threw up several shocks, so it’s great we got the win and came away without any major injuries.

Next up are in-form Salford, who, deservedly, are in the top-four after beating Huddersfield and Wigan. Leeds will have to continue their recent form to get the points here.

DIANNE HALL

It is always tricky against Castleford, but we maintained our recent good record there. The perceived weak link, Ash Handley, handled immense pressure excellently. Neither was it as easy as the score suggests against Wakefield. Salford next, which could be difficult given their recent good form.

Luke Gale.

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