Leeds Rhinos: YEP Jury give their verdicts

Mitch Garbutt.
Mitch Garbutt.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds Rhinos’ victory over St Helens and tonight’s clash at Wigan.

JAMIE SMITH

Well I don’t think any of us expected such a big scoreline and convincing win, for the second time this season, against St Helens.

We completed a league double over one of our closest rivals to move three points clear in Super League.

We set the tone early and St Helens had no answer. Even when we were reduced to 12 men, after Zak Hardaker was sin-binned for a tackle on Travis Burns in the second half, we still looked unstoppable as we still played at a high level and even grabbed ourselves a couple of tries before he returned the pitch.

The win unfortunately came at a cost as we will lose Hardaker for a match as the result of his yellow card and we also lost Stevie Ward through injury, which looks set the keep him sidelined for at least a month.

After receiving a lot of stick in recent weeks, Ash Handley grabbed his second hat-trick of the season against St Helens, with one of his tries completely bamboozling full-back Mark Percival with a beautiful dummy to cap off a great personal performance.

We also got to see our new signing, forward Mitch Garbutt, make his debut in front of a big Headingley crowd and he looked really impressive.

He was throwing himself into tackles, wanting the ball in attack and despite only landing in the country the previous weekend, looks like he’s already settling in really quick and will be a real asset to the team.

Another tough test tonight as we travel to third-placed Wigan Warriors in our final away fixture before the league splits for the Super 8s.

These games are always a tasty affair and I expect this to be exactly the same.

We hold our own fate in our hands as two wins out the last three games will see us head into the Super 8s as table toppers and the first of them will come against the Warriors.

They will be looking to bounce straight back after being beaten away at Warrington last week, but we’re starting to play strong rugby both sides of the ball, at the right time of the season and I see us coming away with a 10-point victory.

CRAIG TARBOTTON

After a sloppy start to the game with handling errors galore the Rhinos took control and put in an outstanding performance to defeat last year’s Super League champions.

It was a perfect evening at a packed Headingley and a perfect result to boot. The atmosphere was electric and the players seemed to buzz off that.

Apparently St Helens’ game plan was to target the old guard, Peacock and Leuluai; well that plan certainly didn’t work as the pair were outstanding against a usually top drawer Saints pack. They simply couldn’t cope and had no answers to the Leeds attacks. Ash Handley was faultless as he bagged his second hat-trick in two games against the Saints. I bet all those who were giving him stick a couple of weeks were up chanting his name. Leeds tore Saints apart down the right hand side with Kallum Watkins showing us why he’s the best centre in Super League.

Carl Ablett worked hard throughout as always and scored a great try to cap off an impressive display. New recruit Mitch Garbutt looked decent, what a game to make your debut. The only negative from Friday’s game was the injury to Stevie Ward, I wish him a speedy recovery. Wigan up next. I love these games against the Warriors, it’ll be physical encounter that’s guaranteed. Leeds to win by 10.

ANNE BOSANQUET

Playing St Helens at home is always a big game for Leeds and this one certainly didn’t disappoint.

The Rhinos got off the a cracking start and we dominated the first half, finishing 22-0 ahead.

Ash Handley scored his second hat-trick of the season. The second try was superb, with a great break from Kallum Watkins and support from Danny McGuire. The game wasn’t faultless, but it was an exciting match to watch.

We now take a three-point lead at the top of the table after completing our second win against Saints this season.

Tonight we face Wigan Warriors.

It’s sure to be a tough one, but we can go into the match with confidence after this performance.

GRAHAM POULTER

WE DID very well to score the amount of points that we did in the first half, considering the amount of errors we came up with.

It was good to see us defending strongly.

We will have to stay strong mentally at Wigan against their niggle!

JON WINTER

IT WAS a terrific performance from Leeds last week. We were clinical and if anything, I felt the scoreline could have been a lot worse for Saints.

Handley’s second try was superb, made by Watkins and McGuire, there won’t be many tries that will better this one this season.

It was good to see Handley come back into some form after his past few performances. Saints were not at their best, but you can only play what is in front of you.

Now with three games to go we look favourites to finish the regular season on top of the table.

Next up is Wigan away tonight.

No doubt they will put their recent poor form behind them when they face us! Hardaker will certainly be a big miss.

DIANNE HALL

After an error strewn first 20 minutes we still scored 18 unanswered points.

We are improving every game and finally I feel we are heading in the right direction. To beat Saints twice is brilliant, let’s make it three!

Wounded Wigan next tonight. Bring them on!

Ashton Golding. PIC: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

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