Leeds Rhinos: YEP Jury give their big match verdicts
Our YEP Jury give their verdicts on Leeds Rhinos' victory over Wigan and the key clash at Hull KR.
On Armed Forces Friday Leeds Rhinos rose to the challenge and defeated old foe Wigan.
We finally saw a Leeds team that resembled that of the treble winners of 2015. The team had a definite plan and each player fulfilled their role. With players returning from injury Brian McDermott had the luxury of being able to make substitutions throughout the evening without having to change the whole structure of the team.
It was refreshing to see Tom Briscoe back on the wing and perhaps it was his return that sparked Kallum Watkins to produce a season’s-best performance in attack.
James Segeyaro made his home debut and was awesome in both attack and defence. It certainly made me realise how Leeds have lacked a playmaker at No 9 all season.
The defence from the whole team was perhaps the best for the season and, apart from a couple of slips that resulted in the first and last tries for Wigan, we were pretty solid throughout the full 80 minutes.
One criticism from Friday evening was in the last five to 10 minutes when Wigan looked like they may snatch a win. Nobody in the Leeds team seemed able to take control and bring a calming influence.
Everything looked very frantic and individual decisions were taken in haste. It made very uncomfortable viewing from the terraces.
Leeds are certainly producing the best rugby of the season with back-to-back wins over top sides and this is exactly what they need going into the middle-eights.
A win over Hull KR will seal four home ties in that competition, which will help team confidence and reward loyal supporters who have stuck by the Rhinos in some dark hours.
I’m sure it’s not a coincidence that Leeds’ fortunes have started to turn around since the training facilities at Kirkstall re-opened. The loss of these facilities on Boxing Day has had a much larger impact than anyone could have imagined. Now that their training home is once again available, maybe fitness will improve, injuries to individuals reduce and a team spirit will return to Headingley.
I am confident the Rhinos will remain in Super League for 2017.
Super League is upside down!
Once again Shaun Wane’s pointless mind games failed; he isn’t Jose Mourinho. I was quietly confident we could win this one and I’m delighted to see we are not occupying bottom of the table.
Finally we are starting to see moments of the Leeds Rhinos of old.
James Segeyaro has been the boost we needed. When we have a quality hooker in the team we just seem to turn up a couple of notches. Kallum Watkins is continuing his good form and his finish for his try was top drawer. We handled some late pressure from Wigan which was good to see.
Wigan were very lucky to keep 13 players on the pitch. The cannonball tackle on Adam Cuthbertson could have ended his career and the fact it wasn’t penalised on the pitch is frustrating.
Brian McDermott summed it up perfectly in the post-match press conference.
Also, Josh Charnley should have gone for 10 minutes for losing his cool after a couple of decisions he felt didn’t go his way.
On to tonight and a big opportunity to get four home games in the middle-eights if we beat Hull KR. In recent times the trips to Craven Park have been very close encounters and I don’t expect anything to be different tonight.
Last Friday evening at Headingley, Leeds Rhinos picked up a victory that will most likely be their best of the 2016 Super League season.
Although they are still bereft of ideas in attack, their hard work and effort in defence was superb for the second week in a row and was just enough to win them the game.
Recently signed hooker James Segeyaro’s defensive efforts are second to none, and although he is only 5ft 8ins, he tackles as though he is the biggest man on the pitch. If Leeds manage to keep him it would be a fantastic signing.
This week Leeds need a win to secure ninth or 10th spot in the table.
And against a dejected Hull Kingston Rovers side I don’t think Leeds are in danger of finishing bottom.
After beating Hull, it was only fair to do the same to Wigan and keep things tense at the top!
We kept Wigan in the game in the first half, but we managed to avoid doing a typical Leeds and held on. Let’ s make it three from three when we face Hull KR tonight.
Get in! It’s always nice to upset Wigan!
Leeds have now lost only one game in five, and a win at Hull KR tonight will secure us 10th place on the Super League ladder.
And a 10th-place finish would undoubtedly be a huge improvement on how things looked only two months ago.
It is important that Leeds are starting to hit form ahead of the Qualifiers and I do suppose recent results show how competitive we could have been if we have had a near-enough full pool of players to choose from for most of the season.
Once again, James Segeyaro injected life into Leeds and deserved all of his plaudits.
Let’s just hope that the run can carry on for the rest of the season and send Leeds into 2017 in the right manner.
We backed up from the Hull win with another impressive victory, against Wigan. We were solid throughout and showed real fight and passion that’s been missing for much of the season. On to the other side of Hull and a chance to secure four home play-off games. I think it’ll be another win this week.