Leeds Rhinos: Our YEP Jury give their verdicts

Our jurors have their say on Leeds Rhinos' Super League opener and Sunday's trip to Widnes.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 11th February 2016, 4:55 am
Jordan Lilley.
Jordan Lilley.

Luke Crossfield

We did not get the start we wanted, but there were plenty of positives to take from the game with Warrington.

Keith Galloway had a solid debut and his defence saved some potentially devastating breaks. Brett Ferres was one of our best players and made plenty of yards on the right edge. When Joel Moon produces the magic like he did for our second try it is worth the admission ticket alone. However, with the amount of possession we had in Warrington territory I felt we should have been more clinical.

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Warrington’s defence was outstanding! Barring some off-the-cuff plays from Chris Sandow, I thought our defence was really good too.

How did Ben Currie not get man of the match from Sky? It is a shame Eddie and Stevo love Australian half-backs.

Losing Danny McGuire for two months is a blow; he will be a miss for the World Club Challenge game. But, I am confident that Jordan Lilley will step up after his performance in the second half especially.

We got our first taste of missing Kevin Sinfield’s calmness and ability to convert vital penalties when under pressure. Zak Hardaker should be better for the experience and will benefit from it happening the first game of season.

Onto our first away game at Widnes on their iPitch. They have a settled half-back partnership and their recruitment has not been bad. The games away to Widnes since they returned to Super League have always been high scoring and I think that will be the case once again.

Widnes did beat Wakefield last Sunday, took their chances well and can beat anyone on their day – as we found out last year. It is important to get the two points on Sunday as the fixtures after the World Club Challenge are daunting.

I hope we play the team that we aim to go with for the Cowboys the following Sunday as we need to get it right – especially at half-back – if we’re to have any chance of winning. We all have to remember that last Thursday was the first competitive game without some of the greatest players in Leeds Rhinos’ history.

It is going to take time; we will get there and the lads deserve our support.

Elizabeth Hawkhead

Despite a disappointing loss on Thursday evening against a resurgent Warrington Wolves, I believe Leeds Rhinos had far more positives than negatives to take from the game.

The Warrington defence never faltered after Leeds had repeated sets in the opening 30 minutes. It is a long time since I have seen a team dominate for such a long period and yet fail to put any points on the board. Many will question the Rhinos’ strategy of running the penalties instead of kicking for goal.

Jordan Lilley was impressive, having been brought into the Leeds attack prematurely due to a knee injury to Danny McGuire which will keep the Leeds captain out for six to eight weeks. Lilley played as if he had an old head on his very young shoulders and was fearless as he marshalled his more senior team-mates on the pitch, playing with flair and creativity. He assisted in the Ryan Hall try that nudged Leeds ahead in the second half and his attempted break towards the end of the game gave Leeds the penalty that could have drawn the match.

New signing Keith Galloway looked strong, leading the pack for 2016. With big shoes to fill, he delivered. We just need more of the same going forward.

It was an adequate opening performance against a very well-drilled defence from Warrington.

Andrew Richardson

After a first-round loss to a strong Warrington side and the injury of our newly-appointed captain, some are extremely apprehensive about what’s to come from Leeds this season.

Leeds performed well and against most opponents would have come away with the win. Ultimately the better team won, although Leeds had ample opportunities to score and win the game. It was disappointing we couldn’t capitalise, particularly in the first half.

Looking ahead to this weekend, Leeds have another tough game in store at Widnes.

Their iPitch gives them an advantage that shouldn’t be underestimated, and with our captain sidelined the game will be closer than most predict.

For me, Jordan Lilley will be the difference maker and I’ll predict Leeds to win by two.

Katie Burrows

Warrington always seem to up their game when they play us, so I knew our first match last week would be a tough one.

I don’t think I’ve seen a more intense opening game to Super League than that and, hopefully, the players won’t be too sluggish when we travel to Widnes this week looking for our first win.

Thomas Lawrence

Only a top defensive display from Warrington prevented Leeds from a winning start to defending the title.

Many are pointing the blame at goalkicker Zak Hardaker, but despite his lack of composure at the tee, he wasn’t at fault for this defeat.

To spend the first half-hour in Warrington’s 20 and come out with nothing to show for it is where the damage was really done. Away days are back this Sunday with a trip to Widnes Vikings – a fixture in which Leeds were well beaten last season. Widnes are a tough side and Leeds’ depleted half-backs will have to find a decisive cutting edge to restore confidence ahead of the World Club Challenge the following week.

See you all at the Select Security Stadium!

Andrew Sutcliffe

A disappointing result against Warrington, but nothing to get disheartened about.

There was plenty of effort and intensity shown and more fluency in attack would have seen us win. Disruption due to the injury to McGuire didn’t help, but Lilley looks a great talent. A win by two scores against Widnes.