Leeds Rhinos head coach Brian McDermott has faced a bit of a backlash from Yorkshire Evening Post jury members after last week’s Challenge Cup defeat to Hull FC.
I was furious when coach Brian McDermott effectively threw a game two weeks ago, by resting an entire first team for an important fixture at Wigan.
However, if the end goal was to make our passage into the final of the Challenge Cup that little bit easier I was willing to, in small part, accept that for a Wembley appearance.
Then I sat and watched the most abject of all performances by the very team the coach rested with this semi-final in mind.
For me it was completely unjustifiable and the coach should be made to pay with his job.
Leeds looked more tired than Hull, Leeds looked bereft of ideas for the entire 80 minutes, were torn apart by an organised half-back pairing, drove five drives and a kick for 80 minutes and clearly had no game plan beyond this abject rugby. They were out-classed and out-coached in a massive game!
The big question is, in resting these players for a fortnight, what exactly did the coach do with them? What was the plan?
I challenge anyone at the game or watching on TV to tell me?
It was an absolutely diabolical display made worse by throwing the Wigan game.
Tomorrow it’s Wigan, let’s hope he chooses not to throw this one, and comes up with some sort of attacking structure.
Gutted! Going into the Challenge Cup semi-final I really was quietly confident that we would produce a performance and get back to Wembley, but it wasn’t to be.
We were beaten soundly on the day by a very good Hull side who didn’t really let us into the game.
The five minutes before half- time was the game’s turning point for me.
If we could have gone into the break at 12-6 up or even 12-12 we would have been lifted, but the try right on the interval – which looked a yard forward by the way – was a real killer and one which we didn’t really bounce back from.
Fair play to Hull and I hope they go and win it now against Wigan.
With the Super-8s starting this week the big games keep coming and with Wigan Warriors arriving at headquarters tomorrow, it’s a great game for us to get back into it with.
The key decision for me this week will be what coach Brian McDermott does with Tom Briscoe.
I like Tommy but he’s so short on confidence and Hull really targeted him on Saturday, maybe a few weeks out of the side is the answer – rather than being thrown straight back into the thick of it.
I’d move Ashton Golding to the wing and start Jack Walker at full-back, but that’s up to the boss.
Despite going in front twice, Leeds were always on the back foot, unable to gain momentum against a dominant Hull pack. Their few sorties into the Hull half earned two tries thanks to Ryan Hall. The rest is best forgotten. Time to give more game time to younger players in the forthcoming matches.
It started off with a close first half; only six points separated the teams as they walked back down the tunnel. Leeds had as much chance of winning as Hull did.
Yet, when the second half came around it was Hull who stepped up to the mark. Scoring seven tries to Leeds’ four in total, they showed that they have as much right to be in the final as they did last year. Brian McDermott’s previous selection gamble did not pay off. Leeds need to dust themselves off and pull things together as we enter the Super-8s.
The first game is certainly no walk in the park.
Wigan are in good form and will want to capitalise on the Rhinos’ recent run of losses and start their ‘eights’ campaign off with a big win.
Our first three tries demonstrated just some of the qualities our players possess but our systems and game plans don’t allow thm to shine through often enough. Instead, a woeful performance meant we missed out on Wembley. It’s now crucial we beat Wigan and get off to a good start in the ‘eights’.
Leeds Rhinos went one better at last week’s semi-final – usually devoid of Plan B, they didn’t even bother with Plan A.
Tactics based on five uninspiring drives hoping the Hull pack rolled over, then throwing Jordan Lilley on with little time left to pull off something even International Rescue would reject. Tom Briscoe, once one of the best wingers in the country, seems to have had his game and confidence coached out of him. TV pictures shortly before kick off spoke volumes, Hull looking motivated, Brian McDermott alone reading the programme. In the four biggest games this season (three against Cas and the semi) Leeds haven’t been close in any of them.
It is winning these big games that keeps coaches in their job at a big club like Leeds.