Leeds Rhinos: Five talking points from Leeds Rhinos cup win over Barrow Raiders

Keith Galloway
Keith Galloway
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LEEDS RHINOS eased into the quarter-finals of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup with a 72-10 home rout of Barrow Raiders.

Here are five talking points from the game.

Rob Burrow

Rob Burrow

1: It was just about a perfect afternoon for Leeds a week ahead of their Magic Weekend derby with Betfred Super League leaders Castleford Tigers.

They got through with no major injuries – though Tom Briscoe (leg) and Danny McGuire (quad) suffered minor knocks – and were able to give some key players a breather in the second half.

2: Super League defences have struggled to get hold of Joel Moon since his move into the halves, so Barrow had little chance.

The Aussie is proving a lethal threat near the opposition’s line and scored a fine hat-trick, as well as providing the final pass for several more of Leeds’ 13 touchdowns.

It may not be a long-term solution, but Rhinos’ attack has looked much more threatening since Moon took over a pivotal role.

3: Rhinos’ luck with Challenge Cup draws has certainly changed. Before this season they had been paired with lower division opposition only twice – taking on Leigh Centurions both times – since a fifth round clash with Blackpool in 2010.

Having played League One Doncaster in this season’s fifth round, they faced the third tier’s only survivors in round six and will meet Featherstone Rovers, the last remaining non-Super League side, in the quarter-finals.

Rovers, second in their league and Leeds’ partner club, are a good team, but it will be a massive shock if Rhinos don’t reach the semi-finals for the fifth time in seven seasons under coach Brian McDermott.

4: Leeds did a much more professional job on Barrow than they had against Doncaster, who ‘won’ the second half 24-20 after trailing 44-4 at the break.

It was tough on Barrow, but good to see Rhinos showing the ruthless touch they have lacked at times this year.

5: The real test comes on Sunday. Leeds were humiliated 66-10 when they visited Castleford in March, but had injuries as an excuse. They are in a much healthier state now and it will be fascinating to see if – and by how much – they have improved against a side who crushed St Helens 53-10.