Leeds Rhinos: YEP Jury give their predictions

Paul Aiton.

Paul Aiton.

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Our YEP Jury have their say on the victory over Salford and the clash at St Helens tomorrow.

JAMIE SMITH

Losing Ryan Hall and Kallum Watkins in the build up to the Salford game wasn’t ideal, but the team dug deep and we came away with a hard-fought victory despite the poor weather conditions.

Salford took the lead either side of tries from Jamie Peacock, who again showed his warrior mentality by playing through the game with a bad back.

Although Salford kept pace with us during the first half, we deservedly went into the break with the lead thanks to a try from the ever-impressive Ash Handley, before Rob Burrow finished off an equally-impressive move courtesy of Joel Moon at the start of the second.

The home side grabbed themselves another try to reduce the deficit once again, but Zak Hardaker capped off a brilliant personal performance with a well-deserved try in front of a packed away end to secure our ninth win in 10 games and maintain our four-point lead at the top of Super League.

Other stand-out performers on Sunday were Danny McGuire and Stevie Ward, who has started the season in fine form and continues to shine week in, week out.

So a top-of-the-table clash is on the cards tomorrow as we travel to second-placed St Helens. Missing both of our starting England international wingers for this clash certainly isn’t ideal at the best of times, even more so when you come up against one of the best teams in the league, but we have a squad which is talented across the park and which is more than capable of putting together a strong performance in both attack and defence.

This will certainly be our toughest test of the season so far and St Helens will be looking to keep up their recent impressive home record against us to make sure we don’t increase the gap further at the top end of the table.

Leeds-St Helens match-ups are always classic ones that have you on the edge of your seat for the whole 80 minutes and this one will live up to that same billing as the team, along with its strong travelling support, returns back to Yorkshire with a two-point victory under our belts and, more importantly, a six-point lead at the top of Super League.

CRAIG TARBOTTON

Leeds go marching on, picking up the two points against a Salford team that’s started to turn the corner recently.

Salford had some key players missing, as did the Rhinos with Ryan Hall and Kallum Watkins the latest to miss out through injury.

Stevie Ward, Brad Singleton and Adam Cuthbertson continue to impress, as does Super League’s ‘player of the month’ Paul Aiton, who continued to pull the strings against the Red Devils.

I was happy to see Burrow at ‘7’ once more; he always excites and gets the fans on their feet. He went over the whitewash after some good play from Joel Moon, playing against his former club.

Sir Kev was back at ‘13’ – his best position in my opinion. He used the wind to Leeds’ advantage in the opening exchanges in a game where blustery conditions proved tricky at times. Jamie Peacock bagged a rare brace and Zak Hardaker was buzzing about all afternoon and bagged a try that finally saw off Salford.

St Helen’s next; a game we all look forward to. Luke Walsh is back and we will need to keep him quiet, and our forwards need to be on top form to deal with the ever-impressive Saints pack.

It will be another close game and could go either way, but I’ve got faith in the boys and back Leeds by four points.

JON WINTER

A hard-fought game in awful conditions continued Leeds’ good form. With both teams missing players, it would prove to be a good test for us.

Stats-wise Jamie Peacock and Stevie Ward put in huge displays, JP making 150 metres with 43 tackles and Ward with 121 and 39 tackles. Adam Cuthbertson started on the bench, but his impact was noticeable when he came on and even more so when Zak Hardaker made the switch to full-back. We now have a four-point gap and a big points difference in our favour. No pressure to win on Friday, but a win at Saints would put us six clear and in with a great chance to finish in the top-four.

With big games coming up against Warrington and Huddersfield, it’s an important three weeks for the team.

GRAHAM POULTER

That was a good win for Leeds at Salford and we are improving in every department in every game we play.

I fancy us to keep up the good work at St Helens tomorrow evening.

As long as we are able to keep our composure and discipline, I forecast a great win!

ANNE BOSANQUET

Going into last week we had Ryan Hall picking up an injury. There was no need to worry though, as we had another good performance.

This game saw the youngsters Ash Handley and Ash Golding coming in against Salford. We had a good win and maintained our four-point lead at the top of the table.

Jamie Peacock and Stevie Ward both put in solid performances and it seems the communication between the players is working well. I’m not counting our chickens, just yet, as we did have things go in our favour. But if we keep putting in performances like this, the season should go well for us.

This week away at Saints will be a big game.

We need to stay on form, and continue to work well together. I hope for a win.

DIANNE HALL

It was another welcome win in tough conditions, which we handled better than Salford, who were fired up by the loss of two influential players.

Two tries for Jamie Peacock, a gem each from Ash Handley, Rob Burrow and Zak Hardaker sealed the victory.

Saints next, bring it on!

Jack Walker celebrates his third try for Leeds Rhinos.

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