Here’s what the Yorkshire Evening Post Jury thinks about Rhinos’ next test – Wigan Warriors, away.
Saying this season is worse than 2016 takes some believing, but it seems to be.
I was quite optimistic, but as the year has gone on my optimism has just about disappeared along with our top-four chances. We’re more likely to be involved in arguably the toughest middle-eights battle to date to maintain our Super League status. We have failed to address the perpetual errors of silly penalties, slow starts and throwing away leads – recurring themes through everybody’s Jury pieces week in week out!
Many other teams have used injuries as an excuse for their poor performances, but the Rhinos seem to shy away from doing so, though I am sure that they have had an impact.
The plus side to injuries is once again the emergence of some talented youngsters so the future is looking bright. We will soon have an impressive stadium, but we need a team to match, which at the moment we do not have.
Wigan tonight, who, though not playing well, will still be a stern test for our beleaguered Rhinos.
With five games remaining before the Super-8s, Leeds Rhinos could end up in the bottom four for the second time in three years.
The other two teams that could take that eighth place are Catalan Dragons and Huddersfield Giants. We don’t play either of these teams between now and the Super-8s so we are looking for other teams to take points off them while we gain some points.
Time is running out and all the teams we have to play also need points to improve their position in the League.
This means there are no ‘easy’, winnable games.
It looks as though there will be little change to the team to play Wigan tonight from the team that played Catalan last week.
Hopefully Richie Myler will be back.
Wigan are struggling at the moment but that won’t make them easy to beat especially at home.
If the youngsters play as well as they did last week and the senior players learn how to control the game we might just get one of the wins that we need to keep us in the top eight.
Tonight’s game at Wigan could go either way. Taking into account the amount of players who are out injured for us, the team that could take to the pitch, if all of them were fit, would give us a better chance of beating Wigan, but we have to deal with the here and now.
If Leeds, as a team, perform to the standard that they did against St Helens recently then they can get a result at Wigan.
It’s important that Leeds don’t get sucked into losing their discipline because that’s what Wigan will be hoping for.
We have to keep our composure and keep the penalties to a minimum and make sure we take any points on offer to us as they could prove to be crucial come the end of the game.
The season so far has been a rather disappointing one in terms of our league form. We all know the reasons why, but I’m not using them as an excuse; we just have got to get on with the cards that have been dealt to us.
It’s the nature of our sport and it could well turn out to be a successful season should we go on to win the upcoming semi-final in the Challenge Cup and lift the trophy at Wembley in the final!
With no game since Catalans Dragons, I will turn my attention to the state of the game as a whole. There is tension in the air following the arrival of the new Super League chief executive.
The press conference announcing his arrival was a PR disaster in my eyes. Whoever advised him to sit there alongside the main men at Wigan, Warrington and St Helens and announce a new structure which affects the whole game needs sacking.
There have been numerous statements since, from all parties, but what is crystal clear is the game has already broken up into two factions, those that want the game as a whole to grow together and those who want Super League to grow and everyone else can sink or swim.
The foundations of any sport should be led by a governing body which has ALL clubs at its heart including the grassroots of the game. The direction of the sport needs everyone not just the few at the top, who, incidentally, aren’t exactly turning huge profits within their own clubs.
The RFL needs to be strong and get their house in order and lead from the front.
Thinking back ... after such a good start on a bitterly cold February night away at Warrington Wolves – and a rare win on their turf – optimism was high during the long drive back on a yet-again-closed M62!
Things have changed. With all the building work going on at Headingley I knew it was likely to be very different this year, but it seems like the life has been taken out of the stadium and the crowd, and it looks like that has passed on to the players.
Games at home have been sluggish to say the least.
A stadium with no atmosphere doesn’t help when we are not playing well.
We, the supporters, used to be the team’s 14th man.
A lot has happened in a few years; so many players have retired and it’s now showing more than ever.
We have no leaders in the team, no one shouting and screaming to get them going.
We need a new general on the pitch.
Away at Wigan Warriors next, which is never easy, but they too are inconsistent and maybe we can kick-start our season and keep out of the middle-8s.
It’s been a week since the defeat to Catalans Dragons and a time to reflect what has so far, bar the Challenge Cup, been a dismal season.
We started off so well and it’s just dwindled down to two wins in 10 Super League games and six losses in a row.
This is relegation form without doubt.
Would winning the Challenge Cup be classed a success this season? Could that save (coach Brian) McDermott’s bacon? We will soon find out.
I can’t see a win in the next two games. Wigan, tonight, have three men back from injury or international break and then they have the added signing of Joe Greenwood deputising.
We have good news on the front in that Richie Myler, Brad Singleton and Ryan Hall are returning, but without Anthony Mullally and Stevie Ward through concussion.
Hearing the rumours around the ground doesn’t help the fans at all – Ryan Hall to RU or Hull KR, Carl Ablett to Burleigh Bears. The end of this season will see quite a number of changes if all true.