'Dismal': Leeds Rhinos Jury frustrated by Castleford Tigers loss, gloomy about chances v Catalans Dragons
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Richie Myler and Cameron Smith were two players who came through with reputation intact, but our fans’ panel weren’t happy with the pack or half-backs.
And with Catalans having won five out of five so far in Betfred Super League, the Jury reckon it will take a huge improvement for Rhinos to get back on track this week.
To quote Rachel Zoe: “Style is a way to say who you are, without having to speak.” So with that in mind, we really should have known how last Thursday’s trip to Castleford would go in advance, the minute that Leeds announced they’d be wearing a jersey that seems to draw inspiration from a toddler’s birthday cake and their half-finished colouring book.
We change coaches and players, Castleford in habitual turmoil and there for the taking and yet it still goes wrong.
I can only suggest that Wheldon Road is on some sort of paranormal Ley Line or it is some symptom of the mystical River Calder, as to explain the minute the team bus gets beyond
Woodlesford, mass hysteria kicks in and the team goes to pieces.
I could cheat at this and copy and paste my thoughts from a previous visit to Castleford and you probably wouldn’t notice the difference, as these type of performances repeat more times than a BBC 1 evening schedule.
So, Leeds’ grip on the unofficial world club championship (I still don’t think that’s how it works – Ed) lasted one game and a much-improved performance is demanded with the visit of Catalans next Saturday.
So Thursday night brought the first game of the season against local rivals Cas. I always look forward to playing the Tigers as it’s always a great local derby against the Yorkshire rivals. We had been on a two-match winning streak and the Tigers were yet to win.
The rumours beforehand of Kruise Leeming leaving made me think was it going to play on the team’s mind but Rohan Smith was quick to say that he had left that to Gary Hetherington in the pre-match talks.
The first-half was scrappy, defensively we were doing okay, but we were pushed to do so by Castleford’s attack.
We went in half-time in front by two points but that wasn’t to last in an error strewn second-half. Dropped balls and forward passes weren’t going to get us anywhere and we ended up getting beaten 14-8. We need to do some work before our next game on Saturday against Catalans to get us back on track, but it certainly isn’t going to be easy.
Disappointment is the overwhelming feeling after last week’s performance. We looked okay, if not brilliant, in the first-half, but I don’t think we made one chance in the second.
We just didn’t seem able to keep hold of the ball; the error count must have been huge. After two good performances against Saints and Wakefield I expected better.
I don’t know if a bit of complacency crept into the team, but these are games we should and must win, in fact we had enough opportunities to win this one if we’d kept hold of the ball.
It certainly wasn’t a good advert for Super League. I think Rohan Smith needs to work on cutting the errors and consistency and let’s hope we can string more than two wins in a row.
There weren’t many players who shone on the night, but it was good to see Richie Myler getting back to form and Jarrod O’Connor is showing that Kruise Leeming’s departure won't cause us many issues.
Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer had been starting to click and were attacking the line a lot more, but this seemed to go backwards with nothing coming from them in attack.
We are definitely a better team when Harry Newman plays. I don’t think it was a coincidence we went downhill without him in the second-half, although I did agree with the decision to substitute him. It’s important to look after him, we don’t want a relapse.
Looking forward to this week, it will be strange having an early Saturday afternoon kick-off. We will have to improve beyond belief to worry Catalans. They are one of the form teams in competition at the moment with a 100 per cent winning start. Our forwards will need a big effort as they are a big side who like to bully oppositions down the middle.
After a very frustrating night against a struggling Castleford, it looks like Leeds are back to square one.
The Tigers were well up for their ‘cup final’, which was emphasised by the celebrations following a big tackle on Newman which led to him knocking on.
While no one expected Castleford to roll over for us, I expected Leeds to show a bit of fight and that’s where I think the game was lost.
Considering this is a local rivalry, there was a significant lack of urgency and passion from most of the team with our star players not showing up once again.
We’ve seen how good Aidan Sezer and Blake Austin can be but they might be the most inconsistent pair I’ve ever seen at the club.
Constant handling errors let us down in the second-half and the team should be embarrassed by that performance.
Believe it or not, I have some positives from the game. Cameron Smith had a strong game and seems to be getting better with every match.
He ran hard making 151 metres, he made 44 tackles and tried to get us firing, it’s just a shame no one else was up to the task.
Richie Myler also did well, finishing off a good Rhinos move with a try and some solid defence.
A quick word on Kruise Leeming. I was quite shocked when he wasn’t announced as captain in pre-season but his behaviour this week has proven that we were right not to do so.
No one is bigger than the club and if he wants to have a tantrum and leave instead of fighting for his place then good riddance. I just hope we bring in a quality hooker to replace him.
Saturday’s game against an unbeaten Catalans side will be a tough test for Leeds. It will come down to which Rhinos team shows up, the team that defeated Saints and would die for the shirt or the one that faced Castleford that doesn’t look up to scratch.
It seems to be one step forward, two steps back at Leeds at the minute. To go from what seemed to be a clinical second-half against Wakefield to the dismal showing at Castleford is frustrating to say the least.
You wouldn’t think Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer played together in the NRL when you watch them play. There is no structure, Blake seems to dummy pass every time thinking it will miraculously work and Sezer goes missing every time the game gets tough. It is probably too soon for Jack Sinfield to come in but how will we know if we don’t try?
Again, the pack was dominated too easily, reminding us how much we rely on Mikolaj Oledzki. Sam Lisone was poor, you have to think Sam Walters would have been the better choice off the bench, especially after recent performances.
Big improvements are needed against Catalans, who are unbeaten this year. A rivalry seems to have developed between the two sides and tempers seem to always flare. We need to keep level-headed, start well and play the game at our pace.
Back to square one following another frustrating defeat. An absolutely abysmal attacking performance resulted in us losing our third league game already.
Throughout the game I thought we defended well. Castleford had a lot of the ball and we limited their chances, but one-man rugby, very little ball out-wide and appalling discipline are just a few things that spring to mind from last Thursday night.
Derrell Olpherts had his worst game in a Leeds shirt and there was no leadership or control from Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer.
Some serious work needs putting into our attack, scoring only 86 points in our first five games is not a good show at all for the quality we have in this team.
On to Saturday, Catalans are unbeaten and no doubt are going to give us a tough game.
A massive improvement is needed to get two points, but it’s a great chance for us to do so in front of an expected big crowd at Headingley.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Rohan Smith makes some changes after a number of poor individual performances on Thursday night.