Our fans’ panel look back at Leeds Rhinos’ Challenge Cup victory at Widnes and ahead to the Magic Weekend encounter with Castleford Tigers.
Friday was a very tough Challenge Cup encounter for us against Widnes Vikings.
We should have won the game at a canter when we were in front, 23-4.
But we did what we have done best this season – that’s let the opposition come into the game once again, and we were very lucky to get through.
Had the game been on television, I feel we wouldn’t have been in the draw for the quarter-finals.
I’m very happy with the outcome of the draw – against Leigh Centurions. It’ll be different seeing a home game played at Featherstone, but it’s understandable with the money-making Test match at Headingley.
It’s disappointing hearing that Hull KR have reportedly signed Jimmy Keinhorst for next season onwards.
He has helped us through some tough times at this club and is definitely good enough to be playing every week in Super League.
Getting the game time at Leeds this season has been tough and you can’t blame him for looking elsewhere. I hope it goes well for him.
I was going re-do my piece from last week but then thought ‘no, I will make an effort, unlike our team’.
Déjà vu week in, week out. Silly penalties, switching off, falling off tackles and either giving teams a start or letting them back into the game when we are on top.
Having said that, we have learnt the value of the drop goal at last, to the delight and amusement of the sparse travelling fans.
The first team can learn a lot from the under-19s who ruthlessly ran in 60 points in a convincing win.
On a positive note, it was good to see Jack Walker back and it worked putting Ash Golding on the wing.
While I agree with players going on loan to gain game time and experience it saddens me to hear that Jimmy Keinhorst could be on his way to Hull KR, when, in my opinion, he is a better player than some second-rowers we have currently.
Toon on Saturday and a rudderless Castleford. Two desperate sides looking for a win. Rhinos by six!
Leeds Rhinos made it to the Challenge Cup quarter-finals, but only just.
The only difference was that the Rhinos, through Richie Myler, were the team that had scored a drop goal.
Yet again Leeds almost lost a game that they looked like winning quite easily at one point. Another 10-minute period where the opposition scored three tries while the Rhinos gifted possession and fell off tackles. This time Leeds managed to hold on to the lead and actually won the game after another edge-of-the-seat ending to a game.
On to Magic Weekend this Saturday and another meeting with our local rivals Castleford. Even without a number of their star players they will not be easy opposition, especially after losing their last two games. Let’s hope we have learned lessons from the last two games and we can go on and win a game comfortably once we get in front.
It looks as though Carl Ablett and Brad Singleton will be missing and possibly Ryan Hall but this gives others a chance. Nathaniel Peteru had a good game against Widnes and will only get better the more games he plays.
With such low fan turn out for most games last weekend in the Challenge Cup, the great competition needs a kick up the bottom to try and resurrect the format.
Maybe if clubs included the first round of their teams in the price of the season ticket? And then had a fixed price of £10 and £5 and play at 3pm on a Sunday, instead of expecting fans to travel 135-mile round trip on a Friday night over the M62 is just asking for low crowds.
Yet again we seem to not be able to close out a game in the way we used to do, 20 points up against Widnes Vikings, and time on our side on the clock and we make hard work of it.
I can’t see this side being able to hold on to a two-point lead in a Grand Final like we did in 2015 to beat Wigan Warriors for the treble.
And so to Magic Weekend and our opponents Castleford Tigers are coming off the back of a lesson given to them by Saints which could be a worry.
We need to start the game fast, be aggressive, kick them round the pitch, just like we did in 2017 at Old Trafford to win the Grand Final.
The start to the Cup game was fairly even in regards to both teams setting out to play out their sets.
It was Widnes who so nearly took the lead only to be thwarted by a superb cover tackle from Ash Golding. He then ruined it by holding on too long for the referee’s liking and he was duly sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes. Leeds took the lead through Tom Briscoe following a looping pass from Jack Walker.
Leeds went into half-time reversing the score of 11-4 from last week’s half-time score against Warrington. And wasn’t it good to see us score from a drop goal attempt. Leeds began the second half in a positive manner by scoring two quick tries. We were leading 23-4 but yet again the old demons resurfaced and they couldn’t keep their foot on the gas and allowed Widnes to score easy tries.
Had we been facing better opposition we may have gone on to lose the game, which is a concern.
So let’s hope that the Magic Weekend clash with Castleford at Newcastle will inspire Leeds to perform some magic of their own. I’m backing us to win by a narrow margin!
In the Challenge Cup ultimately it’s the result that matters, which is a good thing as Leeds hung on for a welcome place in the next round and a favourable draw against the lowest ranked team, Leigh.
Performance wise it was another clunky performance as McDermott likes to say. Good in patches then an alarming drop off in performance allowing Widnes back into a game they should never have had a sniff of winning.
It’s a long season so let’s pray we get the 80-minute performances on the big stages.
This week is classed, by some, as the big stage and the Magic Weekend has a big game feel to it even though in reality there are only two points on offer. With Castleford being only one point in front of us the two points are pretty important and Leeds need to use this as a benchmark for performing in big games.
Castleford have been missing a few, like us, so we need to take advantage and finally find an 80-minute performance for the first time this season. Slow starts and ill-discipline won’t get us the win we need. Enjoy the weekend.