Leeds Rhinos talking points: On the up, Harry Newman's world-class talent and why Brad Dwyer leaves with head held high

Leeds Rhinos surprised everyone, other than themselves, with the manner of their stunning 42-12 thrasing of Wigan Warriors.

By Peter Smith
Friday, 22nd July 2022, 4:45 pm

Here’s five talking points following a special night at Headingley.

1: Given the circumstances, Rhinos haven’t had many better Super League wins. Against an in-form side who won their previous match 60-0, Leeds were on a short turnaround from a loss at the bottom of the table team, in France in sapping heat and without both first-choice halves, their hooker/captain and all but one senior prop. Looking at the teamsheet, a comfortable Wigan win seemed inevitable, but Leeds dominated throughout. It was a statement win.

2: Rhinos hadn’t beaten a top-two teams since a 28-20 success at St Helens way back in March, 2018. It was their third win in four games and all those came against teams who began the round in a play-off spot. Four months ago Leeds wouldn't have believed they could have won that game, which is arguably the biggest difference Smith has made to what was already a talented group.

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Harry Newman scores Rhinos' fifth try against Wigan. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

3: In this season’s previous league meetings with Hull, Castleford Tigers and Wigan, Rhinos scored 34 points and conceded 81. The returns have produced an aggregate score of 138-42. There’s a long way to go, but that’s a startling improvement. When they play well, Rhinos are becoming an exciting team to watch, which hasn’t been the case in recent seasons.

4: Brad Dwyer was a try scorer against Wigan, just days after coach Rohan Smith confirmed the back-up hooker has not been offered terms for 2023. Dwyer may not fit what the coach wants from his nines, but he has given Leeds good service over five seasons and provided some memorable moments, particularly his golden point drop goal against Castleford in 2019. He can leave Rhinos with head held high.

5: Harry Newman flirted with losing his cool at least once in the game, but a fiery temperament is part of what makes him the player he is. He needs to keep it in check, but he is a fabulous, world-class talent and, at 22, it’s frightening just how good he could become. He could be the best youngster out of Leeds’ system since Ryan Hall.

Brad Dwyer enjoyed scoring against his hometown club. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Spritis are high after three wins in four games, all against top-four clubs. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe