Leeds Rhinos Jury: Mac’s non-use of substitutes is becoming more than a sideshow

Brian McDermott.
Brian McDermott.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds Rhinos’ victory over St Helens and the final goodbye to the South Stand.


Rob Burrow.

Rob Burrow.

Last Friday was never going to be about the match, and it’s a good job it wasn’t as the game was a scrappy and frustrating contest between two sides not on their game.

However, it was good to get a win in the final game in front of the South Stand, which the fans and club are sure to miss.

As a South Stander myself, I can’t imagine Headingley ever being the same again without it, but the stadium is in need of a revamp and I look forward to seeing how it will look once completed.

We now have a week off due to the Cup final, which the 15 players who took to the field last week will be grateful for.

Opting not to use two of his substitutes in such a tight game was another bizarre decision from Brian McDermott, who was lucky to get away with it as Saints applied the pressure in the final moments.


What a night!! Hats off to everyone at the club for making Friday a cracking send-off for the old girl.

I had many a great night in a packed South Stand and that was up there, from the entertainment on the pitch to the legends who came to enjoy the night as well, I would never get bored of seeing Sir Kevin Sinfield at Headingley.

As for the game I thought we really fronted up well to a big St Helens side.

We tackled well and unlike the Wakefield Trinity game, we didn’t give away daft penalties.

We also looked lively in attack again with skipper Danny McGuire to the fore but the outstanding player on the park for me was our number 9 Matty Parcell. I love the way he plays the game!

There’s now a week off for our boys to recharge the batteries now before we head into the final straight of the season which begins with a Super-8s clash with Lee Radford’s Hull FC at Headingley in a week’s time.

This season is hotting up nicely.


With all the fanfare over “The Last Stand” and the demolition of the South Stand it was easy to forget that there was a massively important game to be won at Headingley last Friday against the Saints.

As a “North-Stander” I hope there is similar pomp and ceremony at the last game in front of The North Stand, which could potentially be a play-off semi-final if Leeds continue to win games with such peculiarity as they did against Saints.

Brian McDermott was a very happy coach after the game as he is one step closer to his dream of playing 13 players and no substitutes.

A total of 15 out of 17 played on Friday and not only did this mean he flogged his team but he denied a club legend his last chance of playing in front of the adoring South Stand.

Not that he will care, as his absence at the end of the game to say “goodbye” to the South Stand faithful was noticeable.


Last week’s game was a fitting tribute to the South Stand. It was a close match between the Rhinos and fierce rivals St Helens and the right result was achieved.

Like every time they’ve played this year the scoreline was close at the final whistle. Leeds were still able to take away the much needed two points and give themselves a little more security in the table.

The Super-8s are starting to close up now with only a few games left to play out.

We take a brief break now to let the Challenge Cup final between Hull FC and Wigan Warriors play out.

Whether victorious or not Hull are likely to be ripe for beating following an exhausting Challenge Cup final weekend.


Whilst the St Helens game was an exciting one to watch, for the most part it was a scrappy, dour match with the odd moment of excellence amidst the dross.

It is worrying though, that Leeds have only managed to score three tries in 160 minutes of rugby, and this is with a first choice half-back pairing on the field.

Whilst it was good to see Jack Walker at full-back, it was grossly unfair that Ashton Golding was apparently made the scapegoat for the loss at Wakefield Trinity.

There were other more senior players who could easily have been dropped instead of him.

Apparently Leeds Rhinos are having to cut back on their laundry bill of late so only two substitutes are used now, perhaps a trend could be set and extra points awarded for the least number of players used per season.

There’s a week off now before the run into the final four games of the Super-8s, the semi-finals and hopefully another Grand Final. Much improvement is required, certainly with ball in hand.


In a game overshadowed more by the South Stand than the contest, Leeds managed to eclipse St Helens last Friday night.

Like the league fixture against Hull FC in mid-July, the surprising element for me was how technically poor two of the country’s alleged top sides actually were in favourable conditions.

The plethora of needless errors showed how far the skill level in the northern hemisphere remains behind its Australian counterpart.

As well as the race to the Grand Final, competition is warming up to be ‘Brian’s Benchwarmer’ with incumbent Jimmy Keinhost having a second sucessive strong week ‘twiddling his thumbs’, whilst Rob Burrow showed brilliance in the ‘kicking his heels’ department, leaving the rest of us increasingly baffled as to why neither were introduced at any point.

The increasing fatigue in the squad may not manifest itself now, but if we lose a crucial play-off game by a close margin, then coaching decisions like this may come back to haunt us.