Leeds Rhinos – Kruise Leeming: Slowly but surely things are starting to come together

HOPEFULLY IN last week’s game you saw little bits of what we have been working on since Rohan Smith came to the club.

By Kruise Leeming
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 4:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 3:57 pm

It was an important win for us.

Even though Wakefield are below us in the table and it was maybe viewed as a game we should win, I still think it was really pleasing to get the result and it shows we are heading in the right direction.

Wakey are doing it tough at the minute, but they have turned some good teams over this year and it was a potential banana skin for us.

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Kruise Leeming - in action for Leeds Rhinos against Wakefield Trinity in their BetFred Super League clash at Headingley Picture: Bruce Rollinson

It was really pleasing we conceded only one try, when we went down to 12 men.

That and the tries we scored showed the systems Rohan is putting in place are slowly, but surely beginning to work for us and we clearly improved from the game before, against Salford.

Getting better from the previous match is what we are focused on - keep improving each week.

If we do that, two or three months of improvement and being better than the week before could get us into the top six and stand us in good stead to do something in the play-offs.

Blake Austin scores Leeds Rhinos' third try against Wakefield Trinity in their BetFred Super League clash at Headingley Picture: Bruce Rollinson

We’re halfway through the season now and, so far, it has been riddled with bits of turmoil and injuries, but I can’t use any word to describe it other than ‘disappointing’.

It has been nowhere near our standard but, if I was to put a positive spin on it, I’d say before this we maybe papered over the cracks a little bit, with the Challenge Cup win two years ago and getting to the semi-finals last season.

Now, I genuinely do feel like we have got a solid foundation and something to build on and I can see it going somewhere.

Hopefully, we will get to see the fruits of that a bit later on.

Max Simpson has shown the depth of talent in the Leeds Rhinos' ranks, seen above in Super League action against Toulouse Olympique Picture: Bruce Rollinson

In terms of individuals, it has been good to see some of the young players showing what they are capable of.

We’ve had two 17 year olds, Max Simpson and Jack Sinfield, come into the team and they proved they didn’t look out of place at Super League level, which is another reason to be excited about the future.

You never want to give anybody their debut through necessity; it should be because they are ready and deserve to get a chance. Max and Jack got their opportunity earlier than anyone expected, because we were low on troops.

If we had been at full strength and winning every week, they would have had to wait a little bit longer.

But they came in and their performances showed what a strong youth system we’ve got and, along with the likes of Morgan Gannon and Jarrod O’Connor and others, how good the young players at this club are.

The young lads have come in and stood up and shown what they can do and that is exciting.

It was good to see Zak Hardaker get the man-of-the-match award the other night.

Just having him at training and around the club, you look at him and know the pedigree of player he is and the quality he brings.

He would get in most, if not all, Super League teams so to have him here can only be a benefit to us. If we can keep him on the field, happy and playing that good brand of rugby, he will be brilliant for us.

We don’t have a game this weekend and I will have mixed feelings when it comes to Challenge Cup final day.

I struggle watching those big games because I am always envious of the two teams taking part and I want to be on the big stage, playing.

I often don’t watch the Grand Final or the Challenge Cup decider, but I have got some friends playing this weekend from my time at Huddersfield and I really hope they get the job done.

I hope it’s a good game and it shows rugby league in the best possible light.

Lastly, congratulations to Leeds United for their great escape.

I am not a huge football fan, but I was pleased for them and the city.

Leeds has a rich sporting tradition - with Josh Warrington in the boxing, us, Leeds United, the Rhinos women’s team and the netball, as well as the new Leeds Knights’ ice hockey team.

I think it’s brilliant for the city that United stayed up.