Kruise Leeming’s View from the Pitch: Last-gasp Challenge Cup final a great advert for Rugby League

LIKE I said last week it would be, the Challenge Cup final was a tough watch for me because I was jealous of the teams who were there.
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I had it on though and I thought my old team Huddersfield were the better side and unlucky not to win.

I felt for them at the end. It was probably one of the worst ways to lose, getting that close and then being beaten by a try off a kick, not one that breaks your line.

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But credit to Wigan, they spent a lot of time defending their line but they hung in there - like they do - and that resilience got them the win in the end.

Leeds Rhinos captain Kruise Leeming expects Huddersfield Giants half-back Tui Lolohea, pictured, to bounce back after last weekend's Challenge Cup final disappointment. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.Leeds Rhinos captain Kruise Leeming expects Huddersfield Giants half-back Tui Lolohea, pictured, to bounce back after last weekend's Challenge Cup final disappointment. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.
Leeds Rhinos captain Kruise Leeming expects Huddersfield Giants half-back Tui Lolohea, pictured, to bounce back after last weekend's Challenge Cup final disappointment. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

It looked like a really good occasion and, from what I could see on the TV, the stadium is phenomenal.

The atmosphere was great and the teams played up to that. It wasn’t a high-scoring match, but it was Cup-final rugby and I think neutral fans and people who don’t usually watch our game will have enjoyed it, which is what you want from a big match.

I felt for Tui Lolohea at the end after his missed kicks. I was a bit surprised Oliver Russell didn’t take over after Tui had missed two or three, but he had his leg strapped heavily and I’ve read that his hamstring was bothering him so he couldn’t risk it, which is fair enough.

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It’s fine margins like that which decide Cup finals, but I don’t think any of the players will blame him. They had other opportunities to win and I am sure that’s what they will be looking at.

Leeds Rhinos head coach Rohan Smith, pictured, has finally 'got his feet under the table' reckons club captain Kruise Leeming. Picture: John Clifton/SWpix.com.Leeds Rhinos head coach Rohan Smith, pictured, has finally 'got his feet under the table' reckons club captain Kruise Leeming. Picture: John Clifton/SWpix.com.
Leeds Rhinos head coach Rohan Smith, pictured, has finally 'got his feet under the table' reckons club captain Kruise Leeming. Picture: John Clifton/SWpix.com.

Tui is a good guy and he’s had a good season and I am sure he will bounce back.

After the bye weekend because of the Challenge Cup, we are keen to get back on the field at Warrington on Friday and, hopefully, build on the win over Wakefield last time out.

It’ll be a couple of weeks since then, but we’ve not had a break this time.

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We have trained all the way through and it has been tough, exactly how it should be. We’ll see what happens on Friday, but I think we have put the time to good use.

Our new coach Rohan Smith has had a bit longer with us now and he is starting to get his message across.

It helps that we have got a good bunch of lads and everyone’s buying in to what he is doing.

His demeanour ... Rohan is very calm and measured, which is brilliant for us and exactly what we needed.

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He is doing loads more with the team and speaking a lot more now he has had time to assess things and get his feet under the table.

It is still early days, but I like the fact he is very composed and he doesn’t ride the highs too high or the lows too low.

That’s what you need from a coach and you get confidence from that.

I’ve seen how busy he is so I don’t like to mither him.

As captain, I spend time with him when he needs it, when he has a question about the team or something he wants my input on.

I try to help him, more than ask him stuff or hinder him.

He is still learning about the people here and I’m there with a helping hand if he wants it.