AFTER FACING their bogey side two days ago, Leeds Rhinos will take on a team they have the Indian sign over when Salford Red Devils visit Emerald Headingley tomorrow – here are five talking points.
1: They aren’t quite clicking yet, but there’s a lot to like about this Leeds Rhinos team. Richie Myler is settling in nicely at scrum-half, youngsters Jack Walker and Ash Handley are making a big impact and a couple of others, Mikolaj Oledzki and Cameron Smith, have got game time and not looked out of place. Rhinos aren’t a structured side, but their off-the-cuff attack is great fun to watch. It hasn’t fired for a full game yet, but someone will get a drubbing when it does.
2: Rhinos obviously need to improve the way they begin games. They were 24-0 down after as many minutes against Castleford and 12-0 adrift inside the opening quarter at Huddersfield. The circumstances were different, but Leeds would have won both games if they had been able to get the upper hand earlier in the contest. They dominated for an hour against Cas, but had left themselves too much to do. At Huddersfield, Leeds clawed their way back in front, then let the opposition off the hook. In the circumstances, six points down with four minutes to go, it was a good point.
3: All eyes will be on the left-centre position when Rhinos’ team is named tomorrow afternoon. Liam Sutcliffe and Jimmy Keinhorst are available after injury, but if boss Brian McDermott is selecting on form, surely six tries in the last three games will be enough for Handley to keep his spot. Defensively he has been caught out a few times, but he is a clinical finisher. Keeping the three of them happy will be a difficult balancing act for the coach.
4: Leeds have scored more tries than the opposition in successive games without winning, but Kallum Watkins’ goal kicking couldn’t be blamed against Giants. He landed three from four and the miss was off the touchline.
5: It was good to see Brett Ferres back in the team. Given an injury-free run, he could be a key player this year.