Talking points from Leeds Rhinos v Huddersfield Giants

Jack Walker.
Jack Walker.
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HAS LEEDS’ Rhinos’ bubble burst?

That was the question raised by the shock 31-12 home loss to Huddersfield Giants last week.

Danny McGuire and referee Chris Kendall.

Danny McGuire and referee Chris Kendall.

Here are five talking points as Rhinos aim to get get back on track following their fourth defeat of the year.

1: Poor second half performances are letting Rhinos down.

They have been outscored after half-time in each of their past three games - 16-12 by Widnes Vikings, 24-20 against Doncaster and 19-0 last week.

Rhinos had enough of a lead for it not to really matter against Widnes and Doncaster, but they were level with Giants at the break and a dire second half effort cost them top spot on the Betfred Super League table.

2: With Leeds struggling to get on the front-foot it was strange Rob Burrow was left on the bench until the 65th minute.

There were seven minutes left when he touched the ball for the first time and he had no opportunity to have any impact.

Leeds, in theory, had a better bench than Giants, but it did not turn out that way.

3: The one positive was another encouraging display by 17-year-old full-back Jack Walker on his Super League debut.

After his Cup hat-trick the previous week, Walker looked at home and shows huge promise.

Coach Brian McDermott is often criticised for not giving young players a chance or fielding them out of position, but deserves credit for keeping Walker in the team in his specialist role.

4: Rhinos will be happy when Danny Brough hangs up his boots.

They have spent more than a decade not being able to cope with his kicking game and he gives Giants something Leeds are obviously lacking.

5: This is not a criticism of or comment on Chris Kendall, but referees should not take charge of games involving their former club.

Refs are under enough pressure and it simply creates an issue which could easily be avoided.

There are enough of them to avoid such a scenario. Though on second thoughts, maybe not...

Tom Briscoe.

Five talking points from Leeds Rhinos’ victory over St Helens