Key talking points from Leeds Rhinos’ dismal 34-10 defeat at Hull FC

Leeds Rhinos head coach Dave Furner.Leeds Rhinos head coach Dave Furner.
Leeds Rhinos head coach Dave Furner.
ONLY POINTS difference is keeping Leeds Rhinos off the bottom of Betfred Super League following their dismal 34-10 drubbing at Hull. Here are five talking points.

1: As against Wakefield the week before Rhinos started well, but crumbled when the opposition got into the game. Once things began to go wrong Leeds’ heads dropped and for a 22-minute spell in the first half, when the hosts scored 30 unanswered points, it looked like a Super League team against a Championship one. On current form there’s work needed to prevent that becoming a reality.

2: It’s a bit early to be talking about relegation four-pointers, but Leeds can’t afford to lose at home to London Broncos on Friday. London are two points ahead of Rhinos who face Catalans Dragons in Perpignan and Castleford Tigers at Emerald Headingley in their following two games. All the pressure is on Rhinos and when that has been the case previously this year they have fallen apart.

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3: Coach Dave Furner did make changes at Hull, or planned to. Carl Ablett’s withdrawal after the warm-up scuppered some of that, but the intention was to drop Brad Dwyer and start with Liam Sutcliffe in the centres, as well as Mikolaj Oledzki at prop and Trent Merrin loose-forward. Rhinos have eight England academy players in their squad and if things don’t improve the time is approaching to give some of them a shot. The likes of Callum McLelland, Corey Johnson, Thomas Holroyd and Owen Trout are very young, but too many established players are letting themselves and the team down.

Albert Kelly tackles Ash Handley.Albert Kelly tackles Ash Handley.
Albert Kelly tackles Ash Handley.

4: Rhinos’ attack is okay, but they aren’t defending at Super League standard. The opposition know if they run hard at Leeds, gaps will appear. That is not good enough. Performances are ultimately the coach’s responsibility, but that’s something only the players can cure. They are capable, but aren’t doing it.

5: For the first time in their five defeats, Leeds couldn’t blame the ref’s decisions. Rhinos’ discipline must be much better.