CLUB LEGEND Garry Schofield has launched a stinging criticism of Leeds Rhinos’ performances this season.
Last year’s treble winners are two points adrift at the bottom of First Utility Super League and fell at their first hurdle in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.
Rhinos trail eighth-placed Widnes Vikings by six points with only eight games remaining in the regular season and an angry Schofield described them as “gutless, clueless and rudderless”. Schofield, who scored 147 tries in 250 appearances for Leeds from 1987 to 1996, blasted: “The forward pack are simply not making their presence felt on the field, that’s why I say they are gutless.
“That makes it too hard for the half-backs to have any creativity. We have had Danny McGuire missing, but, at the end of the day, we have still got enough quality in that team. When you look at Robbie Burrow and Jordan Lilley and Liam Sutcliffe, there is enough creativity there. The forwards aren’t laying a platform, but at times when we have got ourselves into good field position, that’s when we have been clueless.
“They had a leader in Kevin Sinfield and nobody has been prepared to take over the ship like he did. Danny is the captain and he has been missing, but how much experience is in that side? I find it very hard to believe nobody has said ‘I am going to grab this bull by the horns and take this where it should be’.
“Nobody is prepared to do that, that’s the reason why I am saying they are gutless, clueless and rudderless. Quite simply, without Kevin Sinfield they haven’t got a leader.”
Schofield – who now follows the game and Leeds in particular as a media pundit – tipped Rhinos for another treble before the season began and he insisted: “When you look at that team on paper, it is a quality side.
“Everybody was saying they can’t do it without the two front-rowers (Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai) and they can’t do it without Sinfield.
“Of course they can. What they should have said is ‘we are going to prove to people how good we are without these three players’. That should have been their motivation.
“Obviously the motivation is there to win the Challenge Cup, retain the league leaders’ trophy and win the Grand Final again. All that motivation is there and it’s a mystery why they are bottom of the league.”
Schofield reckons changing the coach is not the answer. He stressed: “I’m not blaming Brian McDermott for these performances. I don’t think he deserves the performances these players have put in for him.
“When Widnes hammered Hull 10 weeks ago the players took responsibility and we have seen what happened. I am not buying into excuses – all teams have had injuries and the training paddock (flooded at Christmas) is not relevant.
“At the end of the day, the players have to look at themselves collectively and individually and start doing their job on the field. In the past, Leeds have had that never-say-die attitude, but I’ve not seen that this season.”