Our YEP Jury look back on the victory over Wigan and ahead to tonight’s West Yorkshire derby at Wakefield.
It was obvious early on that Leeds Rhinos had set out to respond well to the Challenge Cup semi-final disappointment and they did so with a convincing win over Wigan Warriors last Friday.
Rhinos made a good start through playing fast-paced and creative rugby, which was as pleasing as the result for me.
And that culminated in Stevie Ward and Ashton Golding getting over to give us a 10-point lead.
But soft tries on the back of a penalty and then an error allowed the Warriors to get back level far too easily.
However, Leeds fought to regain control of the game in the second half.
And the Rhinos made it count with four well-taken tries, including two more for Ward to seal his hat-trick and another for Golding, who showed what he’s capable of in attack after recent criticism of that area of his game.
Wakefield Trinity, who have lost four successive games, will provide a tough test tonight but I’m confident we’ll get the job done.
After a big loss in the Challenge Cup semi-final, Leeds Rhinos have started their Super-8s campaign strongly, beginning with a close first half and ending with a great second half; it could not have gone better against Wigan Warriors.
Credit well deserved by Leeds but particularly by Stevie Ward who played well and ended the game with an impressive hat-trick.
Tonight the team travel to face Wakefield Trinity, a side, on paper, they should be able to beat.
Wakefield started their Super-8s campaign with a sweeping loss to Huddersfield Giants. They’ll be seeking their first two points and a chance to jump a few places in the table.
Leeds matches against Trinity can be hard to predict at times, with them often coming across a stronger team than they expect.
The Rhinos will have to keep their wits about them and continue to defend well with key players like Ashton Golding taking a strong role.
I thoroughly expect Leeds to be too strong for Wakefield and secure the two points at this crucial time in the season.
If last Friday night told me anything, it backed up the notion of how ridiculous the team selection at Wigan three weeks ago was.
Wigan look as bad in attack as I’ve seen for years and strengthened my view that Brian McDermott threw the game at the DW Stadium with his team selections.
In the coach’s words, he left the players to themselves following the previous week’s cup semi-final debacle – and it showed.
Leeds started on fire, defending aggressively and fast with Ashton Golding joining the attacking line, something he never does when being coached during the week.
Hat-trick hero Stevie Ward and Golding will take the plaudits but Matt Parcell and Adam Cuthbertson were mercurial and, along with the relentless Jamie Jones-Buchanan, they laid the platform for this impressive victory.
Moving forward, the team needs to shake the rollercoaster performances and form and build on this result for the rest of the Super-8s – starting tonight by doing a job on Wakefield.
I’m delighted to report, thanks to modern medical science, two hours ago I finally managed to stop laughing at Sam Tomkins fumbling the ball out right in front of the South Stand.
Wigan Warriors have some decent players, yet choose to dilute their talent with thuggery, spoiling tactics and shots so cheap you could find them in Poundland.
Last Friday was a return to how Leeds Rhinos should be playing.
For some, the result worked as a redemption for the coach, for the rest, it left the question of why couldn’t we play like that in the Challenge Cup semi-final?
With a Cup final looming and only an outside chance of the Super League spoils, Wigan maybe had their minds elsewhere.
Next up is Wakefield Trinity tonight, licking their wounds after getting hammered last time out and having been hampered by off-field problems too.
Did their final league position flatter Trinity?
Leeds must capitalise and put at least one hand on the league semi-finals.
The response of the team following the Challenge Cup semi-final defeat by Hull FC couldn’t have been more positive; from the kick off it was soon apparent that it was a team with a totally different mindset, a confident, enthusiastic start that had Wigan on the back foot and seemingly unable to compete.
The forwards dominated the visiting pack and allowed a more free-flowing game to develop.
Leeds Rhinos look so much more dangerous when they are more adventurous in attack.
Well-taken tries by Ashton Golding and a resurgent Stevie Ward in the first half were balanced out by Wigan by half-time.
The second half was a pleasure to watch, with Leeds posting a further four tries with Ward completing a well-deserved hat-trick.
It was good to see the players working for each other both on attack and in defence.
Hopefull, that’s something which can be carried forward by the players into the forthcoming matches so that we can claim a home semi-final in the play-offs.