Leeds Rhinos Jury: Return to action at Salford Red Devils, Kevin Sinfield’s exit and England’s chaotic World Cup build-up

LEEDS RHINOS’ end their enforced spell on the sidelines when they take on Salford Red Devils in Super League on Sunday.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 6:15 am
BACK IN THE GAME: Leeds Rhinos return to Super League action on Sunday against Salford Red Devils. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
BACK IN THE GAME: Leeds Rhinos return to Super League action on Sunday against Salford Red Devils. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Oue regular panel of Rhinos’ fans have their say on the game, as well as the pending departure of Kevin Sinfield and Friday night’s warm-up game for England against the Combined All Stars.

Have a scroll through their thoughts and leave your own opinions in the comments section at the bottom.

Ian Sharp: Another week and another game postponed. With reports of other clubs having positive tests, hard questions now must surely be asked of the management, players and staff at some Super League clubs. There is a massive football tournament going on all over Europe and not one game has been cancelled, so how come the RFL can’t implement procedures to make sure our sport is the same?

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HEADING OUT: Leeds Rhinos' fans are sad to see director of rugby Kevin Sinfield is exiting the club. Picture by Paul Currie/SWpix.com

I thought the interview that Sir Kev gave last week was very telling with the things he didn’t say, but his body language seemed to. He couldn’t look straight at the camera, his head was down, he looked quite a broken man. We will probably never know, but I suggest things behind the scenes at HQ are not as rosy as we are being told.

We are away at Salford this week and with Agar saying we are struggling to find enough fit players to put out a team, the game has been moved from Friday to Sunday. They are a team we should be beating but with all that’s gone on in the last few weeks, it’s hard to fathom what side or performance we will get anymore.

Christine Kidd: There have been two big news stories to come out of Headingley over the last week, firstly, Kevin Sinfield’s move to Leicester Tigers and secondly, James Bentley’s signing from St Helens.

It’s a shame that Kevin and Gary Hetherington couldn’t work things out to enable Kevin to stay at Leeds but if he’s not enjoying his job he has to do what’s best for him. As his son, Jack, plays for Rhinos under-17s I’m sure Kevin will still be seen around Headingley from time to time.

PREPARATIONS: England RL head coach, Shaun Wane. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

I wish Kevin all the best in his new job but wouldn’t be surprised to see him return to Leeds Rhinos at some point in the future. He has definitely left the Rhinos in a better position than when he arrived three years ago.

James Bentley is an exciting signing for next season. Another player that couldn’t resist the opportunity to play for his home town club.

It’s difficult to make a prediction for Sunday’s game against Salford when we have no idea who will be playing for either team! Covid, England/All Star call ups, injuries and suspensions have made it difficult to predict what will happen.

Matt Fowler: Rugby league has a reputation, certainly within its own heartlands, of being amateurish. Those I speak to who know very little about the sport like the product on the field, especially when it gets national coverage, but see it as a minority, northern sport. A small-time sport. The players are the jewel in our crown but are being run into the ground.

This last week has highlighted just how substandard the RFL and Super League are at running the game. Having clubs effectively run their own league, and deciding to schedule fixtures on the same weekend as an England fixture shows the incompetence and lack of standing the national team has within Super League boardrooms.

Every other sport grows its product through placing importance on its national team, we are the polar opposite. It has come to a point now that no one, not even the die-hard fans of rugby league, have much interest in our sport on the international stage. I fear the World Cup will be a flop, especially attendance-wise. If clubs and the RFL don’t care about it, why should we?

Katie Burrows: With this week’s trip to Salford looking likely to go ahead,on Sunday, I can only hope the recent Covid outbreak doesn’t have too much of an impact on our form, as we were starting to play well. Whether we will actually have enough players to raise a team is another question.

In the women’s game, St Helens were unable to fulfil their fixture against York on Sunday, after a combination of positive Covid cases, players isolating and injuries left them with a team of 14, but, as they had fewer than seven players out due to Coronavirus, York were awarded a 24-0 win - madness!

We are being forced to release five players for international duty on Friday and it’s beyond me that there is an England friendly going ahead on the same weekend as a full round of league fixtures. Whilst I appreciate we need time to prepare for the World Cup, I don’t think a single match, against a cobbled-together opposition, is going to make much difference to our preparations.

Gavin Miller: The wait goes on and on and on. Still, it’s not like nothing has been happening at the Rhinos. Negative tests mean the players are free to resume training. The Salford game should go ahead on Sunday, but Leeds have five players playing in the international on Friday night, so again they may not be able to choose from a full squad.

Gale, Oledzki, Handley, Prior and Leeming - it’s not like they are important players or anything. I mean, really … whose idea was this?

In other news Sir Kev is departing to go and coach defence to a lacklustre Leicester side in rugby union after apparently not enjoying his role at Leeds any longer.

What I find interesting is that Sinfield always talked about the project - cleaning up the ethos and mess left behind by Brian McDermott. Instilling values back into the club. Has he completed this project? I’d say we are better but not nearly at our best yet. Has Sir Kev left before he fails?

Adam Anderson: A huge amount of game time has been missed, but we finally get one this week at Salford, moved to Sunday so that the Covid sufferers are fit to play, as well as the England and All Stars players being able to back up.

It’s good news for the team as a whole to be able to get back playing, but on a player welfare perspective, this is asking a lot of them and I for one hope that they minimise their game time to help with their own fitness.

Salford will be a tough game even though they are struggling down at the bottom end, they have some top players missing through injury.

This week has been a huge farce with the England and Combined Nations game. The All Stars coach Tim Sheens has struggled to get a team together and has had to call up England players, as well as players from the Championship.

If this is the best we have to offer right now, what’s the point in the game?