Huddersfield v Leeds Rhinos: YEP Jury give their predictions

Brian McDermott.
Brian McDermott.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on the defeat against Warrington and tonight’s clash with Huddersfield.

JON WINTER

What a difference a week makes in Rugby League! The highs of a great performance last week against St Helens, to our worst performance of the season at home to Warrington.

It’s only the second time we have been beaten this season and it’s the second time Warrington have had our number. It was a shame this performance came about in what was Kevin Sinfield’s 500th game for the club. Apart from the opening few minutes, we were never in the game. I didn’t agree with Brian McDermott’s comments in stating that “we weren’t far off”, I thought we were and if anything the scoreline didn’t reflect the dominance of Warrington’s forwards.

Last week I was full of praise for the way in which we played. However, I was left confused not only by how we didn’t manage to come up with a Plan B, when our Plan A wasn’t working but also with McDermott’s strange substitutions.

Only one sub was used in the first half, our forwards looked tired, hardly surprising. Sinfield didn’t come on until the second half and by the time Rob Burrow came on, the game for me was already gone.

It was good to see another Rhinos youngster get his chance to come on, I’m sure Rob Mulhern was ecstatic in having to wait until the 75th minute to get his debut for all of five minutes. I felt that this was the first game that we seemed to miss Ryan Hall and Tom Briscoe, not only for their finishing, but what they do bringing the ball out of our half and giving the forwards a rest.

That’s testament to how well the team have been playing recently without these two.

With this game now out of the way, we still have a four-point gap. Even fourth-place Huddersfield, who are next up, are eight points behind. It’s a short turnaround and there’s nothing better when wanting to right the wrongs of the previous game. We managed to beat Huddersfield at home earlier on in the season, something we have recently struggled with. However, they are much improved since then, even without the injured Brett Ferres.

Leeds will need to be back to their best to get the win and I’m hoping Kallum Watkins and Stevie Ward don’t miss this game through injury.

ANNE BOSANQUET

I was hoping for a strong performance at home, after our impressive win against Saints the week before.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. We started badly and looked like we didn’t even turn up. Warrington came out strongly and were clearly keen for a win. We made shocking errors and were lacking any momentum in the first half.

Things clearly weren’t working which leads to questions why Brian McDermott made no changes to the side in the first half.

Kevin Sinfield came on in the second half to make his 500th appearance for the team, and I’m sure it’s one he’d rather forget. Warrington remained strong and the game became fraught, resulting in many episodes of petty fighting.

It’s clear Leeds’ emotions were high, but we just didn’t deliver. It was a shocker of a game and left me very frustrated.

Kallum Watkins had a good game, but we just lacked in many areas. We were certainly a different side to previous weeks.

We remain top of the league, but need to pull our socks up if we want to remain there. Although there were some bad decisions made by referee James Child, Leeds looked unrecognisable.

Looking to tonight’s game against Huddersfield we need to be more alert and pull together more.

DIANNE HALL

What a difference a week makes! This time it was us playing catch up.

We didn’t seem to have any idea how to combat Warrington’s tactics to slow the game down, and a number of strange decisions from the officials helped Warrington to gain easy metres.

Warrington weren’t that good but I thought we looked tired after our superb performance from last week. Mitch Achurch made an impact but I think that Sir Kev and Rob Burrow should have been brought on sooner.

Our off-loading game was ineffective and we forced passes that were never on.

The big crowd that had turned up for Sir Kev’s 500th game deserved better.

A confident Huddersfield next will be tricky.

JAMIE SMITH

That was a hard one to take as we were never really in the game.

But that’s only our second defeat, so there’s no need to start panicking.

A tough trip to Huddersfield Giants is next up tonight and I fully expect us to return to winning ways.

GRAHAM POULTER

I HALF-expected a defeat was on its way, mainly because of the impact that Easter has.

It was the game that finally caught us up, in my opinion.

We started looking jaded and we never looked like recovering from the slow start.

We had our moments, but came up against a resolute Warrington defence.

Tony Smith (the Warrington coach) got his tactics spot on, with them smothering both Jamie Peacock and Adam Cuthbertson, therefore having an impact on Cuthbertson’s off-loading game.

I feel that a lot of coaches will look at doing the same to us in future games, so it’s up to us to combat it.

Huddersfield Giants away will be a tough game; I expect a positive response in terms of performance and result!

CRAIG TARBOTTON

Tough for Leeds to back up the impressive win at Saints the previous week, but Rhinos weren’t in this game after the first 10 minutes, individual errors combined with a good performance from Warrington was the difference. Giants next, and a vast improvement needed on Friday’s performance.

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