LEEDS RHINOS are assured of a top-four finish in the Befred Super-8s following a 38-26 win over Hull – here are five talking points.
1: Leeds coped well with the late loss of stand-off Joel Moon, who suffered a groin injury in the warm-up. Rob Burrow stepped up off the bench to start at scrum-half and Jimmy Keinhorst came in among the substitutes. He had originally been dropped after successive games as an unused replacement, which was baffling, but got on to ironic cheers and did well. Burrow also had a fine game and Mitch Garbutt made a strong return from a calf problem. All Leeds’ four substitutes were used in the first half, which is progress.
2: Rhinos had to work harder for their win than might have been expected five days after Hull’s Challenge Cup final triumph. The date, which was confirmed before the sides met in the last four of the Cup, put Hull at a clear disadvantage. Sky TV call the tune, but some of their scheduling causes problems which could easily be avoided.
3: It was another late finish, due to a couple of injury stoppages and several video referee decisions. Pressure is mounting for evening kick-offs to be brought forward by 15 minutes, to 7.45pm. Televised games would then end at around 9.45pm which is what should happen anyway. It’s a small change, but would make the sport more family (and media)-friendly.
4: Full-back Jack Walker, 18, continues to impress and appears to be first-choice at the moment. He made one error, but coped well with Hull’s dangerous kicking game, as well as looking a threat on attack. How Rhinos fit both Walker and another talented youngster Ashton Golding into their plans going forward is an interesting dilemma.
5: It was a weird atmosphere with the South Stand closed, but more than 13,000 was an excellent crowd for a Thursday night.