THE 44-0 win at Huddersfield Giants was Leeds Rhinos’ most complete performance of the season. Here are five talking points.
1: Most teams in Betfred Super League’s bottom-five are in a pattern of one good game – or two in Leeds’ case – followed by a step backwards. Even a little consistency, stringing three wins together, would be enough to get any of them out of trouble.
Rhinos boosted their points difference and dented Giants’, but they aren’t safe yet. They need to back up against Catalans Dragons on Friday and not waste what is a golden opportunity. as they did against Hull KR last month.
2: The opposition were very poor, but at John Smith’s Stadium Leeds looked like a decent, top-five or six, side.
Defence was strong throughout and once they put some points on the board confidence came flooding back and they played some good rugby in attack. Where that has been previously this year is a mystery, but interim-boss Richard Agar seems to have got the players believing in themselves again.
3: Recruitment has been criticised, but all four mid-season additions contributed well against Giants. Robert Lui is a genuine stand-off, something Rhinos have lacked and made life easier for Richie Myler; Ava Seumanufagai’s a big presence in the middle; Shaun Lunt added solidity at dummy-half and allowed Brad Dwyer to do his thing coming off the bench and Rhyse Martin looked really good combining with Lui on the right edge. All positive signs for the rest of the campaign and beyond.
4: Ash Handley is an unsung hero. Friday was his 100th Rhinos appearance, which is impressive at just 23 and he has scored 52 tries, 17 of them this year.
Taking Ryan Hall’s place in the squad meant he had big boots to fill, but he is doing a fine job in difficult circumstances.
5: It was a tough night for Alex Mellor, the Leeds-bound Giants forward, but he has been one of their better players this year and is a good signing. He will add a pacy option to Rhinos’ second-row.