LEEDS RHINOS completed their Betfred Super-8s campaign with a 36-12 win at their bogey club Huddersfield Giants – here are five talking points ahead of Friday’s semi-final at home to Hull.
1: Rhinos might look back on half-time of this month’s defeat at Castleford Tigers as the pivotal moment of their season.
They trailed 30-6 and had been ruthlessly ripped apart in a devastating 20-minute spell, but the five halves of rugby since then have been Rhinos’ most consistent so far. Leeds dug in and outscored Tigers – who admittedly eased off – 18-8 in the final 40 and have gone on to thrash both Salford Red Devils and Huddersfield.Rhinos’ defence looks to be in good shape and their attack has clicked. Hull – and either Tigers or St Helens after that if Old Trafford is reached – will be sterner opposition, but Leeds appear in decent shape.
2: Friday will be Danny McGuire’s last game at Headingley as a Leeds player and Rob Burrow’s final appearance there.
McGuire’s reasons for moving to Hull KR and Burrow’s thinking behind hanging up his boots are understandable, but they have proved in recent games they remain key players and – though Richie Myler and Brad Dwyer are good signings – Rhinos will be poorer without them.
3: Leeds’ most improved player this year? Anthony Mullally. The vegan giant is really beginning to fulfil the potential which attracted Brisbane Broncos’ attention early in his career.
He’s big, runs and hits hard, knows his way to the line and is not yet at his peak.
4: Matt Parcell should have been among the nominees for the Man of Steel award. Along with Zak Hardaker at Castleford, he has been the season’s outstanding signing.
5: It’s difficult not to feel for Bretts Delaney, pictured above, and Ferres. Both have both had a terrible time injury-wise and their only luck this year has been of the ‘bad’ variety.