Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds Rhinos’ defeat at Catalans Dragons and ahead to tomorrow’s Challenge Cup quarter-final clash with Leigh Centurions.
Every week I write my thoughts on Leeds Rhinos games and it is a case of deja vu: slow starts to games, playing in fits and starts, allowing the opposition to just do as they please without us laying a glove on them; us not being aggressive or ruthless enough and when we do eventually get ourselves back into a game we cannot keep our foot on the gas and cut off the oxygen of the opposition.
Another problem is the bad habit of giving away penalties, basically us giving the opposition endless open invitations to score at will against our soft defence.
Earlier in the season we raved about how good our defence was. A couple of weeks ago I said that we aren’t that hot in attack or defence – when you look at the top six in the for and against column we’re poor on both fronts. I personally don’t believe that this group of players have it in them to take us forward, they give in far too easily for my liking. There isn’t one leader amongst them that can grab the bull by the horns and shake them into life. Harsh words but true, time to stop mollycoddling them and face up to reality!
Lucky for Leeds Rhinos the Super League is a play-off system and has been for 20 years. There is little doubt Leeds know how to play this system better than any other team so it was no real surprise that a very weakened team turned out against Catalans.
I have no issue with it, you play to the rules you are given at the start of the season. If this was a first past the post league then Leeds would approach games differently including pre-season.
The aim is to finish in the top four after 30 games, that is still possible, but it looks like it will be another rollercoaster season and a tough ask if we don’t turn the corner soon.
I can, however, understand fans wanting consistency. We are only consistent at slow starts this season.
This week it is sudden death in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup.
I expect players to return and Leeds to find a way past Leigh Centurions to be only 80 minutes from another Wembley final.
It’s never dull supporting Leeds.
Saturday’s defeat at Catalan Dragons was not a surprise for most supporters. I think the surprise would have been a Leeds Rhinos win!
For some reason Leeds are starting games really badly and by the time they decide to roll up their sleeves and start playing, like they obviously can, the game is already lost.
Rhinos then put in a good spell but if one or two things don’t go their way they take their foot off the gas and the opposition go on to win the game.
Yes, if the pass to Ryan Hall had gone to hand and Jodie Broughton had been sin-binned for a high tackle on Jack Walker the game may have had a different outcome.
There are a number of players out of contract at the end of this season and there is a lot of speculation in the rugby league press about which players may be leaving.
This must have some effect on the players in question. Maybe some announcements need to be made so that the players can concentrate on this season and ensure that we don’t finish in the bottom four for the second time in three years.
I am running out of different things to say. On paper the team looked good with a mixture of experience and youth.
I was pleased to see the return of Jimmy Keinhorst and Jordan Lilley and they slotted in well.
Once we got possession of the ball we looked good, resulting in an ever-improving Ash Handley scoring our opening try.
However, we seemed to lose our way after that in the first half.
Later on in the game when we got to within three points and got a penalty in front of the sticks, I think we took the wrong option and decided to run the ball only to lose it early in the next set.
In hindsight if we had gone for goal and converted, we would have got within one point, got the ball back and maintained possession.
Little things like that can change a game.
Instead, Catalans scored off of the back of it and the game was lost.
It’s the Challenge Cup tomorrow, in my opinion our only hope of silverware this season. I hope I’m wrong!
They say that size matters in some areas of life and it’s never more true than in rugby league.
With most of our “big guys” missing and the few that are left playing big minutes we are looking shattered after 25 minutes. Players give their all but it’s just a step too far.
Not replacing Keith Galloway has been a massive mistake, we have no-one that’s punching a hole in the middle for guys to run on too.
Another problem we seem to be having is not keeping a settled side. Josh Walters was having a storming season and as soon as a senior player is fit the kid gets dropped.
Then he’s expected to fit back in and play like he had been, and it’s never going to happen.
The game is full of ifs, buts and maybes but if that pass to Ryan Hall had stuck I think we would have gone on to win at Catalans.
Great to see Jimmy Keinhorst and Jordan Lilley back in the blue and amber.
I thought he kicked very well. it’s the Challenge Cup again tomorrow as we face Leigh Centurions at Featherstone. It’s a distraction from the poor league form.
We could have pulled ourselves back into the top four race with a win against Catalans Dragons on Saturday following the defeats for Castleford Tigers and Hull FC, but it wasn’t to be.
It was yet another disappointing game from the Rhinos and our third Super League loss in a row. We had glimpses of good attack in the game, especially on the Ash Handley try.
We are missing quite a number of players but that can’t be used as an excuse, the players in the squad were all around in 2016 and have the experience behind them.
Mikolaj Oledzki is looking the part week in, week out and it’s going to be tough for our forwards to take overtake him in the squad.
This week against Leigh in the Challenge Cup is going to be a tough one.
Leigh have lost just one game in 12 and beaten Super League opposition already. Hopefully, we can get into the Challenge Cup semi-finals.
I feel it’s the last chance of silverware now for the team this season.