Disgruntled Leeds Rhinos fans slam performance, raise Rohan Smith issue, predict loss to Warrington Wolves

Leeds Rhinos' James McDonnell makes a break against London Broncos. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.Leeds Rhinos' James McDonnell makes a break against London Broncos. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Leeds Rhinos' James McDonnell makes a break against London Broncos. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Two wins from two under interim-coaches Chev Walker and Scott Grix, but our Leeds Rhinos fans’ Jury are far from happy.

Rhinos were pushed all the way by Betfred Super League’s bottom club London Broncos before a Brodie Croft drop goal snatched a 17-16 victory in golden-point extra-time. It wasn’t the sort of performance our panel were expecting after a fine win over Leigh Leopards in the previous game and has left them wondering if ex-coach Rohan Smith really was the issue.

DAVID MUHL

Normal service was resumed at HQ on Saturday: unforced errors and silly penalties and we can add shocking tackling to that list as well. Saturday was proof - if proof was needed - that Rohan Smith was not the only problem at Leeds.

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We have no leadership on the field, no confidence and no game plan, other than five drives and a kick which will never win a rugby game. We have two of the best wingers and centres in the competition, but the ball hardly got out to them. It seemed the only time they touched the ball was to complete the usual drive. I can’t even say London played well.

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I have to say I dislike golden-point. What is wrong with a draw? To be honest we didn’t deserve the win and London didn’t deserve to lose. I don’t think there was a positive I could take from this game, certainly no players, other than perhaps Brodie Croft, held their head high. Some looked a shadow of their former self. Mik Oledzki seems to have gone quickly backwards from his international days, he just doesn’t seem to be able to keep hold of the ball these days.

One unwanted record we have this year is Super League’s highest number of errors and we continued this in great style. I’m not sure where we go from here. Although I think Brad Arthur is a great coach, I’m unsure that bringing someone in for 11 games will work.

Leeds Rhinos' Mikolaj Oledzki is tackled by Sam Davis of London Broncos. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.Leeds Rhinos' Mikolaj Oledzki is tackled by Sam Davis of London Broncos. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Leeds Rhinos' Mikolaj Oledzki is tackled by Sam Davis of London Broncos. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

We need some stability and some long-term planning. Warrington and Hull KR are next and I really can’t see us getting anything from these games other than being totally embarrassed. If we keep Warrington under 50, I’ll see that as a result. Rugby, though, was put into perspective last Sunday as we said goodbye to Rob Burrow. RIP legend.

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BECKY OXLEY

Frustrated and flat, that’s the only way to describe Rhinos’ play against London, marred by errors galore and sloppy play. It was a golden-point win, but we were extremely lucky and it was completely different to the previous match, against Leigh. Man of the match James McDonnell admitted in the Long Bar after the game they had been told it wasn’t good enough.

The referee wasn’t great at times, but as I will always say ‘never play their game’. Chev Walker described the game as scruffy in his post-match interview and I think that is a pretty good word.

Ash Handley scores Leeds Rhinos' opening try against London Broncos. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.Ash Handley scores Leeds Rhinos' opening try against London Broncos. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Ash Handley scores Leeds Rhinos' opening try against London Broncos. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

No disrespect to London, but we should never have been in that position. They built their game on our constant errors and made ground too easily. To make a positive though, it is two points and we are only four away from second place in the table.

We can turn it around, there is still time. We need the belief and team spirit to change things up. We’ve got Warrington next in their backyard which isn’t going to be an easy game, but we have to go in with a good attitude and play together to hopefully get the two points.

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There are lots of rumours about who is going to be coach and this is causing lots of conversation between fans. It will certainly be interesting to see who Ian Blease gets in and what that does to team morale. Until then though, let’s keep going with Chev and pick up another win this week.

TOM GOLDSWORTHY

Normal service was resumed on Saturday as Leeds struggled to defeat London Broncos at Headingley, with the team stuck to the bottom of the table leading for most of the game. While we did finally get the win in golden-point, it certainly did not feel like a victory and raised many concerns on how this team will progress.

There is no Rohan Smith to pin the blame on now, the responsibility lies at the feet of the players who were simply awful. The amount of times we dropped the ball or passed it straight to a Broncos player was criminal.

No disrespect to London who performed admirably on the day, but this is a game we should have been winning comfortably, especially with the number of first team players back in the side. Against any other team in the competition, we would have lost by a considerable amount. There was a significant lack of spirit and it feels like we are back at square one, especially after a good win last time out against Leigh.

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I'm glad we are taking our time hiring a head coach as we do not want to be in the same position in a few years’ time. However, the sooner we get one in, the better. We need someone to come in and hold the players accountable for their performances.

Too many top players were missing in action against London and it has been a similar story throughout the season. The play-offs are within touching distance, it's up to us to make sure we are in them come the end of the season.

Looking ahead to Warrington away on Thursday, we will need to put in a completely different performance to get anything from the game. The Wolves have been something of a surprise package this season and while I believe we have the quality to beat them, I fear the players won't show up and it will be a comfortable Warrington win.

IAIN SHARP

Considering London Broncos were considered to be a makeweight team at the start of the season, Super League’s whipping boys, they put up one heck of a fight in their second meeting with Leeds this season. Leeds were back to their old ways of flattering to deceive.

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The problem with a performance like the one they gave against Leigh is we all now know they are capable of doing it and it is up to the players and coaching staff to motivate themselves to such a level that they turn out that sort of performance every week, even without the Rob Burrow factor. There were comments made after Saturday’s game about it being the fault of the flat crowd, to which the simple answer is to play the sort of footy from the off that makes the crowd cheer.

The game went into a period of golden-point extra-time’ and regular readers will know my feelings on this farcical aspect of the current game. It was noted the number of fans leaving the ground at the end of the 80 minutes without even bothering with the extra five-minute periods. As I have said before, the draw is a perfectly acceptable outcome because it happens so rarely in the game, so stop flogging already fatigued players even more.

And finally, another seldom-reported aspect of Rohan Smith’s recent departure was the relief felt by the city’s general election returning officers. There were strong rumours thousands of Leeds fans were going to vote with their feet - and the local polling stations were only geared up for having pencils and slips of paper! At some point I must tell you about the time I had that Keir Starmer geezer sitting opposite me on a train back from Wembley after a Challenge Cup Final…

GAVIN MILLER

I imagine Brad Arthur took one look at that set of forwards and said: “Yeah okay, I’ll give it a go for a few months, but nothing more. It’s going to take a miracle to sort that lot out and I just don’t have the time - and from what you’re telling me Mr Blease, I won’t have the money to buy an entire new starting pack and get rid of what we’ve got. So pay me a few quid, I’ll make sure we don’t finish bottom, we may even reach the play-offs, but go out in the first round, then I’ll be on my merry way back to the sunshine in Australia. Talking of sunshine, does it always rain in July in the UK?”

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I mean that’s what I’d be saying if I watched Leeds on Saturday. The reported plan of appointing Arthur as head-coach until the end of this season is an odd proposal. I don’t think he’s a stop gap for another coach coming in; perhaps the club hopes he’ll be bitten by the blue and amber bug and commit to a much longer stay. Who knows? I do know one thing though, they’d have to play a lot better than they did on Saturday to persuade him.

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