Leeds Rhinos: Talking points after Wakefield Trinity are beaten in Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge
Leeds Rhinos ran in six tries to kick off their pre-season campaign with an emphatic 34-6 win over Wakefield Trinity on Boxing Day.
Here’s five talking points from Rhinos’ performance in the Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge.
1: Context. The game came 48 days before Rhinos’ Betfred Super League opener against Warrington Wolves and Trinity fielded an inexperienced side, so the Christmas clash was no indicator of what will happen when the real business begins. But, despite some obvious ring rust, Rhinos looked quite sharp at times in the second half and there were encouraging signs.
2: Which were... Both new half-backs, Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer, settled in well and there was a strong contribution from second-rower James Bentley in his first appearance. Richie Myler had a fine game at full-back, Ash Handley finished well on the left-wing and young winger Liam Tindall looked to have benefitted from his first team experience on loan at League One club Doncaster. Much tougher tests will follow, but early indications are Rhinos have more points in them this season.
4: Famous footsteps. Jack Sinfield is under more pressure than most 17 year olds, as the reception he received when coming off the bench against Wakefield showed. His background is impeccable, but he has to make a name for himself in his own right and comparisons with his father Kevin are unfair, if inevitable. A specialist scrum-half, Jack is a different style of player, in a different position and deserves an opportunity to develop at his own pace.
5: Injury-free. Agar confirmed Rhinos got through the game with no major new fitness concerns. Being able to put out such a strong squad on Boxing Day was encouraging and they looked in good shape. Keeping their best players on the field is clearly key to Rhinos’ chances of challenging for honours in 2022.
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