Leeds Rhinos YEP Jury - No pressure as Rhinos enter Super League play-offs against Wigan Warriors with nothing to lose
LEEDS RHINOS finished the regular Super League campaign in fifth, a position from which they have twice previously gone on to win the Grand Final.
But, can they do it again? They start their quest under head coach Richard Agar by travelling to Wigan Warriors on Thursday night.
Here is what our regular panel of Leeds Rhinos’ fans think is possible. Have a scroll through and see if you agree - or not - adding your own thoughts in the comments section at the bottom.
What a great send-off it was for our departing players Friday was - it was so good to see the South Stand looking as full as it’s ever been, and even better to back it up with a solid performance against Hull Kingston Rovers heading into the play-offs.
Whatever your opinions on how we’ve performed this season, I think you’ve got to give a lot of credit to that group of players. We didn’t have it easy at times, with injuries and Covid, and even now when you look at the team sheet we’re far from fielding our strongest side.
To finish in fifth place, I would say, is a good reflection of the season we have had, and gives us plenty to improve on for next year. We travel to Wigan Warriors this evening, to face a team who have definitely upped their game in recent weeks.
I don’t reckon much for our chances in all honesty, but we’ve been known to come into form at the right time in the past. As a result of our knack for doing that, I wouldn’t write us off just yet!
A really good performance against a pretty poor Hull KR side last week. I wanted to pick out for special mention Cameron Smith and Kruise Leeming who performed wonderfully well to let others take the glory, but both were magnificent in the way they covered the pitch and excelled in defence and attack.
So our route is: Wigan away, Catalan (likely) away on a Thursday night then Warrington or Saint Helens in the Final. It looks tough on paper, we need to win three games against good opponents away from home - but there are signs, small signs, that we are capable, but there are also small signs that we won’t make it past Wigan.
Yes, we have players back and yes, they are in key positions, but we are still missing others and we need everything to click and go right to get past Wigan and then make a real fist of winning a Grand Final.
I wouldn’t put it past this Leeds team - I wouldn’t put anything past a Leeds team - however, we are the fifth-best team in the competition. But ... we could win it from fifth. Now where have I heard that before?
First off, a massive congratulations to the Leeds wheelchair team for a great win and securing the treble. We think normal rugby league is brutal; this version of the sport is tougher in all respects.
A wise man once said “you can’t win Super League from fifth”, so we went out and did it twice! Could we make it a hat-trick this year?
In years gone by, we seemed to step up another gear in September but I am not sure we have the calibre in the key positions this time around.
But, saying that, in knockout rugby anything can and does often happen. Fingers crossed we may get a few bodies back as well to boost the pack and give us some grunt up front. If Wigan play like they did a month ago when we nilled them, then who knows how far we can go?
The players, on Friday, were asking as many fans as possible to get over tonight but the club had put no coach travel on, which seemed crazy. Now they’ve decided to run coaches and, if we can take four or five coach-loads, that could be the difference in a tight, nervous game.
Even though the game against Hull KR lost a lot of the jeopardy following Castleford’s defeat, it was important to get a good performance out and build some confidence.
In general, I thought we did exactly that. Our defence was solid and we showed some real intent with the ball in hand. Robert Lui’s return was key to that and he had a great last game at Headingley.
The final 10 minutes were a write off with play-of-the-ball and six-again rule ruining the spectacle. I do hope that law is scrapped for next season and we start to implement playing the ball with the foot. I won’t hold my breath.
This week is now sudden death and a tricky trip to Wigan. The effort has been there all season and we do have a chance of progressing, but we must be near perfect. It will be a close game and in play-off football defence is the key.
Patience and executing the game plan will decide the winner. It is this time of year the old Rhinos would come alive. Let’s see if this new crop can create their own play-off magic.
It was another impressive performance against Hull KR and it was good to get a number of players back from injury. Konrad Hurrell really showed us what he is capable of and Kruise Leeming and Robert Lui were superb. Now, however, comes the hard work, making it through the play-offs.
I would not like to back against us when it matters as we are one of those teams that could just shock everyone. Wigan Warriors are first up for what is normally a very tough encounter. But, based upon recent weeks, they haven’t looked all that impressive and I would back us against them.
With Mik Oledzki, Zane Tetevano, Alex Mellor and King Vuniyayawa back, we have some impressive fire power there and it will definitely help us against them. I hope we can give a good show of ourselves and come out on top - like we did the last time we were over there. And, even if we don’t, this season has to be seen as positive with the injuries we’ve faced and still making the play-offs. That is good going.
It was a good team performance against Hull KR to finish the season off in style at Emerald Headingley last Friday. Rob Lui and Konrad Hurrell said their heartfelt goodbyes to the fans at the end of the game; they will both be missed.
Lui showed what Leeds have missed this season without him on the field. His kicking game was excellent and his try in the first half was superb. Friday’s game was a very satisfactory way to finish off the season at Headingley with some great tries and an outstanding defensive show. Next stop is Wigan away in the first round of the play-offs.
With the injuries and suspensions Leeds have had this season, a play-off spot is more than we could have hoped for. It will take another good team performance to get past Wigan but, with more players due back and a positive attitude from the players, who knows?
Wigan will be confident going into the game, after defeating Catalans last week, but the Rhinos are a tight-knit bunch and they have nothing to lose so can play without any pressure.