Leeds Rhinos: YEP Jury give their verdicts

Kallum Watkins.
Kallum Watkins.
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Our YEP Jury give their verdicts on the victory over Catalans Dragons and tomorrow’s Challenge Cup semi-final against St Helens.

ANNE BOSANQUET

We needed a win to take us from second and see us at the top for Super-8s.

Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Tom Briscoe were back in the team after injury. Briscoe made a great effort in his first match in four months, scoring a hat-trick.

The weather played a massive role in the pace of the first half. Catalans made multiple handling errors and we put points on the board first. Catalans applied a lot of pressure and switched up their tactics and Gigot finally made it over, followed by Escare. We needed to dig deep to get this game back on track as they took a four-point lead.

Briscoe went over followed by Garbutt, who scored his first try of the season. You could see he was happy with his effort as he watched it back on the big screen. At half-time we were 16-10 in the lead.

The second half was an intense affair seeing minor skirmishes between the Catalans and Rhinos players, a nasty tackle by Garcia on Leuluai and a lot more handling errors by both teams.

The Rhinos however remained dominant and Watkins’ quick thinking saw him storm the field for an impressive try. His speed has been great all season and he remains a player people need to watch.

Delaney went over for his fourth try this season and extended the lead to 14 points. Briscoe then scored again for his hat-trick. Gigot grabbed his second try of the game which saw Catalans add some extra points.

The game ended 36-22 and we finished the first section of the season on top of the table with an impressive and tough win.

We have some tough games ahead of us and it should a good battle to the league leaders’ shield.

We face St Helens, Wigan, Castleford at home and Huddersfield, Hull FC and Catalans away.

We take on Saints tomorrow in Warrington in the Challenge cup semi-final.

We have put up over 40 points in both our previous meetings this season so we should go into it with no fear.

I’m looking forward to the trip over and hopefully we’ll end on top, one step closer to the silverware.

Both teams will surely be fighting for their spot in the Challenge Cup final.

GRAHAM POULTER

FIRST OF all a huge congratulations to Leeds Rhinos on finishing top of the pile, the first objective completed on the goals set for the team to achieve this season.

Let’s hope it can inspire the team to go on and complete the job, firstly winning the Challenge Cup semi-final tomorrow against St Helens, then going on to win the final and doing well in the Super 8s and hopefully culminating in being champions in the Grand Final at Old Trafford in October.

Catalans provided us with some very strong resistance which is what we needed after last week’s one-sided game against Salford, going into a massive game against St Helens and then on to the start of the Super 8s the following week.

I expect the game against St Helens will be a lot closer than our two convincing victories this season.

If we do what we are good at and we stay composed and keep our discipline then I can only see a victory for us come 10pm tomorrow night.

It was good to see Mitch Garbutt score his first try for us, he is going to prove to be a huge signing, especially when he has a proper pre-season behind him.

What a great individual try it was from Kallum Watkins, he’s our very own marquee player!

JAMIE SMITH

THAT’s top spot secured for the Super-8s, but we made hard work of it. The first half started brightly but when Catalans hit us with back-to-back tries, you knew it was going to be a tough day at the office.

We needed something to break their resolve and a long distance try from Kallum Watkins did that.

After that we got a strong hold of the game and took the win.

A Challenge Cup semi-final against St Helens over in Warrington awaits us tomorrow night.

One thing is certain, it won’t be as easy as our two meetings in the league so far. Saints looked in decent nick against Hull KR last week, so this will be a close one but the Rhinos will be heading back to Wembley.

CRAIG TARBOTTON

It was a pretty straight forward victory for Leeds on Sunday. Catalans put up a decent fight, but it was a game we were always going to win. It was good to see Briscoe back with a bang. A tough challenge awaits tomorrow, I’m sure we will be heading to Wembley once more.

DIANNE HALL

A patchy performance, not helped by the atrocious weather and some strange decisions by the officials.

Tom Briscoe started where he had left off and Kallum Watkins continued his rich vein of form with a wonderful individual effort.

The wet conditions and Catalans’ spoiling tactics put paid to an open game, although we did score some good tries including an historic first for Mitch Garbutt.

No-one was going to stop him! Going into the Super-8s as league leaders will be a confidence boost for tomorrow’s Challenge Cup semi-final and we should virtually be at full strength.

As the Cup holders it will take a very good side to prise it from us. I think Rhinos will win by ten.

JON WINTER

It was great for us to finish the regular season top of the table, now the business end of the season has begun and we’re hoping for a top-two finish and home advantage in the play-offs!

Hopefully the team can earn us another trip to Wembley tomorrow!

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