SURVIVAL IN Betfred Super League is not yet guaranteed, but Leeds Rhinos are in a healthier position after their 48-8 thrashing of Catalans Dragons. Here are five talking points.
1: If the pattern of two losses-two wins under interim-coach Richard Agar continues, Rhinos will be back in the mire. Defeats by St Helens and then London Broncos would at least halve and possibly wipe out their current four-point breathing space so the job is not done yet.
But the last two performances – 92 points scored and eight conceded – have been Rhinos’ best of the season and it feels like a corner has finally been turned.
2: What a signing Rhyse Martin has been. He has made a big impact in his five games and not just with his goalkicking, though that has certainly helped.
After missing with his first two kicks for the club, Martin has landed 20 out of 22 attempts – including 14 from 14 at Headingley.
He has also added a new dimension to Rhinos’ attack and it’ll be a surprise if he doesn’t win their try of the season award for his brilliant solo effort against Catalans.
3: Rhinos’ response to Brad Singleton’s sending-off was outstanding.
Earlier in the year heads would have dropped, but instead Rhinos rolled their sleeves up and produced their best spell of rugby since, probably, 2015.
It was notable that, unlike Catalans after the red card incident, there was no running in by Leeds players when the home side were victim of some fouls later in the game.
4: The big difference is Leeds are, at last, playing as a team. Nobody is trying to solve problems on his own, which was the case in the first half of the campaign.
That approach was at the heart of Rhinos’ success from 2004-2017 and Agar deserves credit for restoring that work ethic, as well as adding belief to a dispirited squad.
5: Singleton’s red card was correct, not malicious, but direct contact with the head.
The yellows for Konrad Hurrell and David Mead seemed harsh. Fortunately, the disciplinary system will ensure justice is done.