Leeds Rhinos Jury: Broncos trip was plain sailing...until Leeds reverted to type late on
Our fans' panel look back on Leeds Rhinos' 48-32 Qualifiers victory at London Broncos on Sunday.
For 60 minutes we played better than we have all season at London Broncos. Then, after an hour we reverted to type, no defence and no attacking ideas.
I know the two points are essential, but points difference could have a bearing in the final shake up. Joel Moon’s contribution was obvious in the first half with 16 points (including the goals by the ever improving Liam Sutcliffe).
He was sorely missed in the second half as was Ryan Hall for his bullocking runs. One final note, we were all made to feel very welcome by the staff and fans at London. A superb set up, not the biggest but surely the friendliest!
We now have a break from the nervy qualifiers to enjoy our annual trip to Wembley.
This year I will be a Dragon for the day!
The break will hopefully benefit our injured players and give the new coaching team a bit more time to get their ideas across.
This week, 50 years ago, a certain John Holmes made his debut for Leeds.
We could do with someone like him now.
Two wins from two in the middle-eights is just what we needed, albeit against two teams from the Championship.
The first half against London Broncos was very clinical and it looked as though we were getting some rhythm.
The second half was certainly not as clinical when we conceded too many points in the last 20 minutes.
The week off could be a massive help for us with players battered and bruised, hopefully we can call a few back in against Hull KR next week.
The Robins will be up for the game too with their huge win against Toronto Wolfpack at the weekend.
I still feel there will be a number of changes in the squad next season, but keeping our Super League status is pivotal to these plans.
The hard work has just started.
The next three games are against the Super League opposition will be the tests and I feel two wins will secure Super League status, but it won’t be easy.
The good ship Rhino has picked up two wins from two. Looking at the fixtures most fans would have expected that scenario.
What is clear is the ship is slowly changing course. The Rhino is a massive ship to steer and changing course is not a quick or easy task. It requires all hands on deck and for 60 minutes on Sunday all was plain sailing.
The final 20 minutes of battle saw lots of the crew down tools, something captain Sinfield will no doubt have taken notice of.
As we hopefully sail into the port of Super League in six weeks’ time some of those who do not have the mental fortitude to sail on such a large vessel will be thrown overboard and new crew acquired.
The next battle on the high seas will see a much sterner test with Hull KR loading their cannons in readiness.
The crew need to be working the sails for the full battle this time.
No quarter must be given and a victory will see our ship’s course become clearer.
A defeat sends us into stormy seas.
So far so good for Leeds Rhinos in the Qualifiers. Two games, two wins. Things aren’t perfect by any means but Rhinos are on track for Super League survival.
London Broncos was never going to be an easy game as they were full of confidence, having beaten Super League opposition the previous week. Leeds however had other ideas and three quick tries from Joel Moon soon put them on the right track.
It was good to see Stevie Ward back on the field. This was tempered by the removal of Moon at half-time and an injury to Ashton Golding.
The players will get a rest next week due to The Challenge Cup Final. This will give players chance to recover before the game against Hull KR. There is still plenty to work to do especially in defence.
Hull KR fought hard for their win against Toronto Wolfpack last week and with Danny McGuire making his return to Headingley this will be another difficult game.
A win against Hull KR will boost the confidence of players and fans alike and take some pressure off for the next four games.
Three weeks ago, the doom-mongers were all saying, ‘we won’t beat Toulouse at home and London Broncos away will probably be another loss’.
Two wins later and it’s now ‘we’ve only beaten two championship sides’.
They do say you can’t please everybody, but how about getting behind the team, when we need it most.
We have put over 80 points on the board, and yes we are looking jaded later on in games, and it’s not easy watching some of the passages of play, but if you can cheer them at Old Trafford then you should be cheering now.
It’s a a week off now to hopefully get a few bodies fit and some tactics ready to hand another defeat to Hull KR, with Danny McGuire back at HQ it will be odd seeing him in red, not blue and amber.
With Joel Moon now confirming that he’s going home and Ryan Hall going to the NRL and Sydney Roosters it’s going to be a very different side next year, director of rugby Kevin Sinfield has got a massive job on to get us back playing like we should be.
Leeds played very well especially in the first half where they pretty much dominated London in every department and then continued to play well up until the last quarter of the game when Leeds put the cue on the rack and allowed London to put some moves on us and gave us quite a few nervy moments.
The Broncos are a quality team and they will beat a few of the other teams that they’ll face in the coming weeks.
Now with a week’s rest for Leeds it’s a great opportunity to rest up and come back ready for the challenges that lay ahead in the coming weeks.
First up is the visit of Hull KR and the return of Danny McGuire, whom were impressive in their win at Toronto Wolfpack on Saturday.
It will be another tight game and if Leeds can perform for more than an hour of the game and tighten up defensively then a third win should be in the bag and put us in good stead for the remaining fixtures that lay ahead in the coming weeks!
It will also take a lot of pressure off the shoulders of the players.