Leeds Rhinos Jury: An improved derby-day effort but middle-eights are still beckoning for Leeds

Justin Horo is stopped by Carl Ablett and Brad Singleton.
Justin Horo is stopped by Carl Ablett and Brad Singleton.
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Our YEP Jury look back on Leeds Rhinos’ 20-20 draw with Wakefield Trinity and ahead to tomorrow’s clash with Widnes Vikings.


Brad Dwyer.

Brad Dwyer.

The Wakefield Trinity match last week brought yet another encounter without a win, however not a defeat this time, which is some good news.

The players looked much happier than they have done in recent weeks and we did look good with ball in hand.

I feel we are destined for the middle-eights now. We need to just kick on and win every game possible. We still have a shot at getting to Wembley too.

Bradford Bulls announced the signing of Jordan Lilley until the end of 2019 season this week. It’s a good move for him and hopefully he gets the game time and experience needed to kick on.

Ryan Hall.

Ryan Hall.

There’s also the disappoining news that Ryan Hall is moving on – seemingly to NRL side Sydney Roosters.

At 30, you cannot blame him taking this opportunity to join the superior competition. He will do well over there and goes with all Leeds fans’ best wishes I’m sure.

Potential recruits Paul Aiton and Dom Crosby will give us extra men fighting for spots and hopefully help steer us through a tough end of the season.


On Friday we started off brightly against Wakefield, however a familiar ending dashed our hopes of a first win in nine attempts.

We failed to close out a game where we had a winning lead and conceded needless penalties. It didn’t help that a dubious looking Wakefield try went to the video ref and just as night follows day the “try” was awarded.

Stevie Ward had an excellent game as did both wingers and Liam Sutcliffe’s kicking was spot on.

Despite a definite improvement in the overall performance we seemed to run out of ideas in the second half. We don’t seem to have the nous to engineer drop goal chances.

Wakefield attempted three in the last 10 minutes.

Sir Kev has got us moving in the right direction and I hope he has enough time to keep us out of the qualifiers. Only time will tell.

It’s a big ask, but we must win our last two games!

We then have to rely on one of the teams above us losing their last two.

Is fate going to be kind?


After the game the initial reaction from many fans was that we looked a lot better and the team looked like it wanted to win more than in previous weeks against Wakefield.

My memory must be going but the performance we produced against Saints last month with fewer first-team players available had as much fight and a more potent attack. I don’t see much change to be honest.

I can only assume a lot of the positive changes are happening off the field as not much has changed on it. I have no doubt that Kevin Sinfield will get it right but the middle-8s beckon I am afraid. We have to rely on others losing and that is a sorry situation to be in. Gary Hetherington’s gamble to change now in order to avoid the relegation dogfight doesn’t look like it will pay off in time. This current situation lies at his door and his door alone.

It’s time to get our recruitment right and look long term. Tuimoala Lolohea is a promising signing and hopefully more long-term additions will be added for next season. We need some grunt in the forwards, but we have known that since the start of the season.


It was another point lost in last Thursday’s game against Wakefield Trinity and once again so near and yet so far.

The first half belonged to Leeds Rhinos, but chances were squandered and they should have had more points on the board by half-time. That said attack and defence was better than it has been for some time.

It’s looking as though Rhinos will finish in the bottom four for the second time in three years.

Hopefully by the time the middle-8s start things will have improved even more and we can win enough games to avoid relegation or the Million Pound Game.

It sounds as though Kevin Sinfield would like to bring in a couple of players until the end of the season.

This should bolster the squad for the middle-eights.

Widnes at home could give Leeds their first win for a long time. This would be a start in improving their confidence for the matches to come.

One new signing has been announced for next year and so far the only news of departures is Ryan Hall. Expect this to change in the next few weeks.


In the words of Yaz and the Plastic Population “the only way is up”.

To start on the positive, I thought we looked a different side from the week before, but also from the last few months; we were fast off the line, put pressure on the opposition, were much better in defence, and us fans got much more behind the guys which I hoped helped, and the atmosphere in the ground was back to normal.

Brad Dwyer was fantastic at hooker and got us moving, we missed him so much when he went off for a rest, were so much slower at the ruck and it got Wakie back in the game.

On to the negative side of things, how can the video ref not see the knock on for the last Wakefield try?

They have so much technology and he clearly knocked on before, and had no control with the grounding.

There were two big decisions in the game and Robert Hicks and co got both wrong.

Nothing upsets fans of all clubs more than inconsistent decisions.

We are much improved and the belief is back.


Leeds played much better than they have being playing recently, especially in the first half, but yet again they failed to manage the game by not closing it out from a winning position.

There was also the giving away of silly penalties, from players not getting their tackling technique correct, which then saw us punished on the scoreboard.

It’s obvious to see just how very ordinary Leeds have become over the previous months of the season. For a club the size of Leeds it just isn’t acceptable how very mediocre the performances have become and how everyone involved has gone away from the things that made Leeds such a successful club.

I’ve also mentioned before about the lack of fitness of the team which shows up in the latter stages of a game. For pre-season training they should come up to train at Catterick Garrison army base to be put through their paces and to be taught about leadership because as I’ve said before, they don’t currently have any.

The Widnes game will be very nervy. They are stuck at the bottom of the table but they will be preparing for the middle-8s so will be looking to beat us and it wouldn’t be a shock if they did!