LEEDS RHINOS ran in eight tries to thrash Salford Red Devils 44-2 in their final home game of the Betfred Super-8s. Here are five talking points.
1: It might be a good idea for Rhinos to lose at Huddersfield Giants on Friday. Some of Leeds’ best performances in 2017 have come after a defeat. Rhinos backed up their positive second half performance in the loss at Castleford Tigers with a strong defensive effort and a clinical one on attack, scoring some well-worked tries. It was a glimpse of what they are capable of, albeit it against a team in poor form, but doing it on a regular basis has been Leeds’ problem this year.
2: Whoever Rhinos play in their semi-final, on Friday, September 29, they will go into the tie on confident mood. Both Wigan Warriors and Hull have a poor recent record at Headingley and have lost there twice this season, as have St Helens. Leeds’ home form this year has been good, with 13 wins and only two defeats.
3: Neither team will have anything to play for in terms of the table on Friday night. With a do-or-die game coming up a week later and virtually a full-fit squad, Rhinos coach Brian McDermott might be tempted to rest some key players. But momentum is important at this stage of the year and fielding an under-strength side the week before this season’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final was a mistake, so expect Leeds to go with a strong team and look to carry on from where they left off against Salford.
4: The play-off will be Rob Burrow’s final game at Headingley and Danny McGuire’s last there for Leeds. McGuire’s try against Salford, when he supported a Burrow break, was a reminder of why they deserve to be hailed as one of the best partnerships in the club’s history
5: Rhinos’ player of the year will be announced on Monday night. This reporter’s top-three would be : 1, Matt Parcell, 2 Adam Cuthbertson, 3 Joel Moon.