Our YEP Jury look back at the World Club Challenge and ahead to the clash at Widnes Vikings.
I’m not going to take much from the World Club Challenge, you cannot give Melbourne Storm the chances they had and expect them not to take them.
They did the simple things and did them right.
Obviously the trip itself has taken it’s toll on the lads and they tired in the end, but Melbourne didn’t even get out of first gear.
Hopefully the injuries to Stevie Ward and Jack Walker don’t keep them out too long.
After looking to have good depth before the season started, we are now starting to look depleted.
I am hoping the lads can get back on track on Sunday, it’ll be tough considering we’ve just come back from Australia and the fact we are playing Widnes, who we struggle to beat at their place.
Hopefully we have a few bodies back and expect Ashton Golding to make his mark at full-back in the battle with Walker.
Also, good luck to Oulton Raiders in the Challenge Cup third round against Hunslet RLFC.
As disappointing as the result was I don’t think the Rhinos let themselves or us down in Australia.
On that form I think that any team would struggle to beat Melbourne. The scoreline made it look like a one-sided game, but it was anything but.
We never gave up and it was basic errors and penalties, some bemusing, that ultimately cost the Rhinos.
Having two referees sprung on us didn’t help our cause, especially with so little time to prepare. They seemed to see our offences, but not theirs. A couple of unfortunate injuries also disrupted our already depleted team. The players gave their all, without hitting the form we all know they are capable of, which would have been needed to beat the Storm.
I like the World Club Challenge concept, but it is heavily weighted in favour of the home side. Until a compromise can be worked out it always will be.
Onwards to an unhappy hunting ground and a Widnes team not performing yet. Let’s hope that we can get back on the horse and continue our decent league form.
To win a World Club Challenge against a team like Melbourne Storm we needed all our best players playing at their best on the day.
Unfortunately we had to start the game without some of our best forwards due to injury.
We then lost another two of our best players during the game
While the presence of these players wouldn’t have guaranteed a win it would probably have made the game a lot closer.
Melbourne Storm were deserved winners and their defence was superb.
The Rhinos however never gave up and kept on trying right to the end.
Next up are Widnes on Sunday. This is not an easy fixture and for the last three years we have found it difficult to win at the Select Security Stadium.
Widnes were unlucky to lose to Warrington last week and will want to come away from the game with a win.
It will be interesting to see who plays for the Rhinos after the trip to Australia. Whoever plays will give 100 per cent as always and hopefully we can come home with another two points.
There is no getting away from it, the better team won last week. Given the enormity of the task concerning the travel, injuries and late switch to two referees, the Rhinos can be proud of their efforts if not the execution.
I said last week penalties would be a key factor and the majority of their tries came in penalty sets.
I am sure the lads will have learnt from the whole experience and the desire now will be to have another shot at being World Club winners in 12 months’ time.
In order to do that another Grand Final journey recommences at Widnes Vikings on Sunday.
The squad will no doubt be challenged in the next two to three weeks as we recover from our trip.
Injuries are always part of a season and we need to show up at Widnes in good spirits. It is a fast track whatever the weather, so I hope that we can use it to our advantage.
I have a feeling this will need to be one of those hard-fought gutsy wins due to the amount of travelling the boys have done.
It was always going to be a big ask to go and beat the Storm in their own backyard, but being Super League champions we had earned the chance to try and do just that.
Only time will tell how much the trip is going to affect the upcoming Super League games and we suffered yet more injuries in the process, which could be more of a problem as the next few games are coming thick and fast.
I hope that playing in front of that crowd against the quality of players they have will only give the young guys that played invaluable experience for big games to come this season.
The boys left nothing on the pitch with their never-say-die spirit but it’s back to reality this week and a trip to sunny Widnes.
It may not have the same kudos as playing Melbourne Storm in the World Club Challenge, but is more important to get back to winning ways.
It is going to be a tough game and with the knocks we picked up I am fearful we might get turned over.
It started so well with Leeds taking the game to Melbourne Storm. We were really positive from the first whistle and were rewarded by scoring the opening try of the game.
There was some great build up play and it was finished off magnificently by Ryan Hall.
We kept that positivity going up until the drinks break when the powerful Storm began to hit us.
They were a different team in the second half and gave us lots of worrying moments.
The loss of two of our players to injury and being down on substitutes didn’t help, that meant the team putting in extra work.
I can only give the players credit for their efforts; the never-say-die attitude is in their DNA.
Our defence in our two games leading up to this game was really good, but Melbourne are a different animal – they are so used to putting big scores on teams.
Hold your heads up high lads, your time will come again so use it as a motivation to put yourselves in a position to play in the World Club Challenge again this time next year.