Leeds Rhinos: The great, the good, the bad and the ugly from 2021
IT’S been another season to remember for good and bad reasons for Leeds Rhinos, their charge to Old Trafford being halted by St Helens last Friday.
Our man Peter Smith hands out a series of unofficial awards as well as some best and the worst from the 2021 campaign
Player of the year – Third place, Brad Dwyer: Ever-present, the hooker was Rhinos’ second top try scorer and devastatingly effective off the bench.
Second place - Mikolaj Oledezki: Despite a late-season injury layoff, Oledzki visibly grew in confidence over the course of the season and is now one of Super League’s top props, at just 22.
First place - Kruise Leeming: Deservedly named at hooker in the Super League Dream Team, he also impressed as emergency half-back and emerged as one of the team’s on-field leaders.
Best win: The surprise 22-16 victory at Warrington Wolves in July showed what Rhinos are capable of when they get their game together.
Worst performance: Rhinos were clobbered 26-6 at Hull KR in April, when they looked disinterested from the start and were comprehensively outplayed.
Memorable moment: Kruise Leeming’s career-first drop goal which won a golden point thriller against Hull at Magic Weekend and effectively secured Rhinos’ top-six finish.
Try of the season: Not technically the best, but Konrad Hurrell’s run, chip, chase and collect away to Castleford Tigers was a crowd-pleasing effort.
Biggest disappointment: Anyone remember Kyle Eastmond playing for Rhinos? Thought not.
Unluckiest player: Callum McLelland underwent off-season ankle surgery, then suffered a groin problem which kept him off the field until July. He also struggled with concussion and illness before a season-ending knee injury in only his fifth game of the campaign.
Best prospect: It’s a fiercely-contested category, but 17-year-old second-rower Morgan Gannon made 12 appearances, played the full-80 several times and looked a class act.
Low point: The 14-13 defeat at Huddersfield Giants, to a drop goal with the last kick after Leeds had led with six minutes left. It was their fifth successive loss.