Leeds Rhinos Jury: Derby fightback bodes well for Easter and the rest of the season

Leeds Rhinos' Ash Handley dives in to score his side's second try against Castleford.Leeds Rhinos' Ash Handley dives in to score his side's second try against Castleford.
Leeds Rhinos' Ash Handley dives in to score his side's second try against Castleford.
Our YEP Jury look back to the narrow derby defeat to Castleford and ahead to tomorrow's clash at Huddersfield Giants.


A disappointing first 20 minutes saw us going 24 points down to Castleford Tigers last week and at that point I thought it would be a massacre. How wrong was I?

It was a fantastic performance from the lads to get back to where they were only to miss out by a kick.

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Elland Road.Elland Road.
Elland Road.

We’ve now got two games to come over the Easter period with Huddersfield Giants tomorrow and Salford Red Devils on Monday, two games you’d expect four points from, however with Rick Stone being sacked by Huddersfield, you’d expect them to come out firing.

Salford have been hit and miss so far this year, hopefully it’s a miss on Monday and we can pick up a maximum haul this Easter.

A rumour that has been doing the rounds this week is that Darcy Lussick is being released by Manly Sea Eagles due to their salary cap issues.

We have been linked with him, as well as Hull FC and Wigan Warriors.

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Elland Road.Elland Road.
Elland Road.

He would be a cracking signing to replace Keith Galloway who retired recently.


IT was a game of two halves if ever there was one against Castleford, when the defence that had stood us in good stead previously let us down by conceding 24 points in the first 20 minutes.

This wasn’t what I expected and I thought here we go again, not a repeat of last March! Once we managed to get some possession we made it count. However, our defence re-emerged in the second half to keep Cas scoreless. If only we could have played like that in the first half.

Three good tries in the second half should have been enough to take the spoils, but only one successful conversion cost us the game. This is a concern for me.

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Another five minutes and I think that the majority of the record crowd would have gone home happy. When we return to full strength I think we will be serious title contenders and with the youngsters that have filled in, the future’s looking bright.

Tomorrow it’s Huddersfield, a past bogey team for us. Our league positions point to a Rhinos win.

We will see.


Castleford were 24 points up after 20 minutes and Rhinos fans may have thought we were in for another long night and another 66 points conceded.

The Rhinos players however had other ideas. They decided to fight back and put in yet another gutsy performance. In the end they were unlucky to lose by just one point.

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The defence was excellent and didn’t concede any points in the second half. Ash Handley is proving a revelation at centre and it will be interesting to see what happens when Liam Sutcliffe is fit again.

Next up is Easter with two games against opponents in the bottom half of the table.

On paper they look like easy games, but with the players Rhinos have available at present they are not going to be that easy.

Huddersfield Giants are a team that we have found difficult to beat in recent years and Danny Brough always seems to play well against Leeds.

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We should beat Salford on Monday but again it won’t be an easy game. Four points over Easter would be brilliant. Let’s hope the weather behaves itself and the games both go ahead.


You cannot give any team in Super League a 24-point start and expect to win a game. After 20 minutes my usual positive attitude was starting to wane and wilt, as were the team, but I thought after that we rallied superbly.

The crowd was excellent and it was disappointing in the end to not come away with something, but the start cost us. The goal kicks we missed were crucial and Kallum will learn from kicking under pressure. Sinfield was an extraordinary kicker, but not an instant success. Kallum needs to stick at it with our support and hopefully the pressure kicks will start to go over.

This week we have to double up on games over the Easter period and they are two games we should be winning if we have top-four aspirations. The squad, already light on forwards, will be stretched again, but hopefully some bodies will return to help out.

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These past few games have showed our conveyor belt of young talent is still producing great potential and we are in a good place even after a defeat. Let’s kick on. Enjoy the Easter games.


Castleford certainly unleashed their Tigers out of their cages on to us with ferocity after being in the freezer recently.

They got their teeth into us and began mauling us, the Rhinos were more like petrified rabbits caught in the headlights in the first quarter of the game.

Poor positioning from Ash Golding was seized upon by Luke Gale who provided the kick that led to the opening try of the game and following that Leeds just couldn’t handle the high bombs coming down into their faces and were again punished by Castleford.

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The game was in danger of running away from Leeds until they began to wake from the coma the Tigers had put them in. Leeds improved after the removal of Matt Parcell and when Golding moved into the hooking role and into the full-back position came the very impressive Jack Walker.

I would certainly start him at number one in future games as his positioning sense is exceptional and he’s totally fearless. What an end to the game, Leeds just lacking a decent goal kicker!


I’m not one for clichés, but talk about a game of two halves! I, like most inside the stadium, was fearing, another 60 points spanking.

All of a sudden we just clicked, for the next 56 minutes we were the only team in it.

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Whatever was said in the sheds at half-time hit the spot, we had more desire to win and stopped Castleford playing the footy they were playing in the first 24 minutes.

The question was raised again: “Do we need a goal kicker?” Kallum Watkins has kicked some belters and also missed a few, that might have led to victories.

I’d let him develop, if I am honest.

He will get there – I am sure he won’t rest until he has cracked it.

On to a busy Easter programme and with Huddersfield Giants away and Salford Red Devils at home in the space four days it’s tough on the players, but I am sure the back room boys will have them all ready to go.

We need to make a statement and win big, against teams that are struggling for form and wins in the last few weeks.