Leeds Rhinos Jury: Leeds looking good for Grand Final rematch after gutsy win at Saints

Ash Handley (second left) celebrates scoring his second try against St Helens.
Ash Handley (second left) celebrates scoring his second try against St Helens.
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Have your say

Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds Rhinos’ victory over St Helens and tomorrow’s clash with Castleford Tigers.

ADAM ANDERSON

Anthony Mullally scores Leeds Rhinos' opening try against 'St Helens.

Anthony Mullally scores Leeds Rhinos' opening try against 'St Helens.

The best performance of the season by far was needed against St Helens last week and we got it.

The Saints did not look like the team they have been in recent weeks but that’s because we didn’t let them get into space. The bench was worrying due to the youngsters. Jack Walker came on and played fantastically. Cameron Smith, Josh Walters and Mikolaj Oledzki came on and did a very good job when it was needed.

Hopefully the Ashton Golding and Kallum Watkins injuries aren’t too bad and they are fit to play tomorrow. Ash Handley is showing his worth more and more every week in the centre position, especially with his two tries.

It’s going to be tough for the game tomorrow as Castleford have our number in league games and will want revenge for the Grand Final.

I would definitely have Brad Dwyer back on the bench for this one and hopefully we can have an injury-free period.

Hopefully, we can go well beyond the 20,000 attendance mark at Elland Road. Enjoy the game.

DIANNE HALL

Going over to St Helens I didn’t know what to expect with the weather and the team thatwe had out.

However, I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t looking any better when we lost Ash Golding after five minutes, to add to our ever-growing injury list. It made one of the substitutions easy for Brian McDermott with Jack Walker coming off the bench for his first game since Melbourne.

We scored the most points in a game and a tight Saints defence conceded more than they had in any other this season. I was also happy that it was us that stopped them getting any further away from the rest of the league, like Castleford did last year.

That brings us nicely to tomorrow and the Grand Final rematch at Elland Road.

It should be a cracking game, but we will be without some of our Grand Final players due to injuries.

If we can keep our defensive efforts and take our scoring opportunities like last week, I think we will come away with the win.

Never write off the Rhinos!

MATT FOWLER

Not the most polished performance, but in terms of guts, desire and teamwork it was a standout performance at Saints last week.

The annus horribilis of 2016 is again showing signs of the positives you can gain from adversity. Stripped of eight players, the team ignored that excuse and players who went through the torment of 2016 stood up to be counted. That performance will not define our season but it is a positive memory to have in the locker.

Another big game awaits this week at Elland Road. I thought the atmosphere was a little bit lacking the last time we played there but by all accounts, the crowd should be much bigger adding to the occasion. Castleford will certainly be fresh after another postponement so we will need to show the same desire and guts we showed last week.

I hope that the weather will not spoil what could be a super game and our offence can go up another gear.

Myler will again be a key man if we are to be successful, as will our tenacious defence, which is becoming a hallmark of our season so far. Enjoy the game.

CHRISTINE KIDD

Wow, what a great two points that was against form team, St Helens.

A great, gutsy performance from the whole team, including a bench with an average age of 19. It just proves that fringe players can slot into the team and get results.

It was also good that we played on Friday and so didn’t fall foul of the weekend’s weather.

This week we are back at Elland Road to take on last year’s Grand Final opponents, Castleford Tigers.

The Tigers haven’t been anywhere near as good this season as they were last. This game against Leeds will give them an idea of where they are this year. Zak Hardaker’s absence is having more of an effect than some people thought it would and Ben Roberts is still settling in at the back.

Castleford always seem to up their game when they play the Rhinos and I’m sure tomorrow will be no exception.

It looks as though we will have a similar team to last week and if they play with the same grit and determination we should have another two points in the bag.

IAN SHARP

Well, I said last week, I thought that the best six, seven and nine would be the difference in winning and losing and I do believe that Joel Moon and Matt Parcell were the major factors in us beating the Saints.

Saying that, they could only do that on the back of some amazing pack play. With so many big guys out, I thought Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Brett Delaney were outstanding, in backing up Brad Singleton and Anthony Mullally in the forwards.

I wonder if the mindset that was installed in Brian McDermott in the Marines is passed on to the team, because not once do they ever give up in any situation.

Last week Phil Clarke said “Saints are the best team”, this week they “have only played the bottom-four”. Which one is it Phil?

This week is a rematch of last year’s Grand Final and I am sure it will be the same result. Hopefully we will get some guys back from injury too.

On the plus side it’s the last match at Elland Road, and I can’t say I’ve enjoyed the experience in any way shape or form.

GRAHAM POULTER

The Saints v Rhinos game was a good one to watch, not so much skill-wise, but good in the desire, determination and sheer grit shown by Leeds who put in a steely, never-say-die performance.

In my preview to this game last week I said that it would be a close game and that I fancied our chances of winning, purely because Saints hadn’t faced opposition like us in their previous winning run.

Our defence ensured that we went into the break on equal terms, our attack showed signs of good things to come once the pitches firm up and if we keep up the good defensive efforts then we won’t be far off from putting ourselves into a good position to compete for the trophies.

The visit of Castleford Tigers tomorrow night should provide us with a test again of our defensive metal and a good challenge for us to keep the shackles on Luke Gale and a steadily-improving Tigers side.

I expect another close game at Elland Road and I back us to come away with the two points and for us to continue our good run!

Leeds Rhinos' Stevie Ward.

Injury fears are put to bed by Leeds Rhinos’ Stevie Ward