Leeds Rhinos fans praise Hull KR's South Stand noise, celebrate semi-final win, predict St Helens repeat
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Rhinos beat Wigan Warriors in a tense semi-final on Sunday to qualify for Wembley’s first Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup final.
Here’s what our jury made of all that, plus their thoughts on Friday’s game at Super League champions Saints.
What a weekend of semi-final rugby league. Four incredible games, all broadcast live on BBC, three of which were settled by two points or less.
As a Leeds fan, I will be focusing on our women’s victory, but congratulations to the other three teams, as well as Halifax and Batley who made it through to the 1895 Cup final.
Despite the final score, Leeds’ 16-4 victory over Wigan was hard-fought all the way to the end. It took a moment of magic from Caitlin Beevers for Leeds to take control of the game, and to do it at such an important time of the match is superb
Keara Bennett was another standout and although she may miss the final, she played an incredible role in the victory, getting Leeds up the field with quick rucks and good
The ladies will face Saints women at Wembley for the first time in history in a game that is not to be missed. It is great to see how much the women’s game has grown in the last couple of years, and if we keep seeing matches like that, it can only go from strength to strength.
What a weekend of rugby league we’ve been treated to.
Without Leeds playing, I had to look elsewhere to get my rugby league fix and all the Challenge Cup semi-finals were brilliant games.
Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed watching St Helens and Wigan lose, I hope that next year Leeds can put a cup run together and make it to Wembley, especially since we could not attend our last visit to the capital due to Covid
At least one team from Headingley will be competing for the Challenge Cup this year. Leeds Rhinos Women booked their place in the final for a second year in a row after they fought hard to defeat Wigan at Headingley.
The final scoreline of 16-4 did flatter Leeds as the Warriors went toe to toe with them until the last minute.
Looking ahead to Friday’s men’s game against St Helens, hopefully the week off will give the Rhinos an extra boost heading into the most crucial game of the season.
If we are to make a last minute push for Old Trafford, momentum is massive as we saw last year and another away win at the reigning champions would be the perfect start.
Saints will be feeling hurt after their narrow semi-final defeat and Leeds will need to be wary of any potential backlash.
However, Saints have shown they are not to be as feared as they once were and I can see the Rhinos pulling off a second win over in Merseyside.
I have been thinking of four things this week, firstly how good will it be to see two teams at Wembley outside the usual quartet this year.
I will be cheering for Hull KR because I’ve still not forgiven Alex Murphy and Leigh for cheating us out of the cup in 1971!
Secondly, well done to the Rhinos Ladies on getting to the final with a really gritty performance in awful conditions. I’ll be there cheering them on.
The third thing is something that’s nothing to do with Leeds on the field. I was lucky to be helping at a fans’ event at Headingley organised by the very hard-working Sian Jones. It reinforced what I’ve always really known, that as a club we do these sorts of things really well. Something all fans should be proud of.
The final thing is something that was discussed at that event and all those fans clamouring for new signings all the time should really consider.
There have been three periods of great success in my time supporting Leeds, the first was in the 60s under the leadership of Roy Francis, a coach way ahead of his time; second was the team of Syd Hynes in the late 70s and finally the golden generation which was started by Darryl Powell and Tony Smith.
The thing all these teams had in common was they were made up of mainly local lads topped up with the odd signing from Australia or other English teams.
We now have a coach in Rohan Smith who is giving youngsters like Jarrod O’Connor, Tom Holroyd, Morgan Gannon and Lui Roberts their chance in the first team, players who I think we can build a team on in the coming years.
Looking forward not back now, I’m looking forward to Friday’s game against Saints and hopefully we get a win.
Last weekend all eyes were on Rhinos women in their Challenge Cup semi-final against Wigan.
I decided to take the opportunity to go and cheer on the women and watch the men’s game between Hull KR and Wigan as a neutral.
As has become normal, it was wet, but I was ready for a good afternoon of rugby. The first half of the women’s game was equal and a sign of how much each team wanted to win. The second half was when Leeds started to open up and the chances came. Two well-worked tries within four minutes helped us to a fantastic 16-4 win and we are now 80 minutes away from winning the first Women’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley.
The whole Cup run, conceding only four points in five rounds, is phenomenal and let’s hope we get the win. I am certainly looking forward to a trip to Wembley.
Watching the next game as a neutral made me realise how different it is to watching as a supporter.
I felt like I was able to focus on the full play rather than a specific part. It certainly made me enjoy the game from a different perspective.
So now we know the finalists for the Challenge Cups at Wembley in three weeks’ time and 1971 aside (I hope Syd Hynes’ agent has got a good deal on his repeat fees in the next few weeks), it will be refreshing to see two teams other than the established ‘big’ clubs from Super League contesting the men’s final.
It was also worth noting the atmosphere at the Headingley semi-final that the Hull KR fans generated in our South Stand. Since the move to the new structure, the noise made by Leeds fans in there certainly isn’t what it once was, when it was the most feared stand in the League.
The Rovers fans did it themselves, without the use of a band, musical instruments and so on, proving that it is perfectly possible to provide vociferous support for your team, even with seats at the back.
For Leeds, the next couple of games will be interesting. St Helens this week will be licking their wounds from their semi-final defeat and then we have Leigh at home the week before the Cup final.
The run-in is also intriguing. Catalans look destined to top the league and I think Leeds will do enough in the coming weeks to scrape into the play-offs.