Leeds Rhinos Jury: Rhinos’ horror show doesn’t bode well for Cup semi and middle-eights

Kevin Sinfield at a training session ahead of the Challenge Cup semi-final.
Kevin Sinfield at a training session ahead of the Challenge Cup semi-final.
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Our YEP Jury look back on Leeds Rhinos’ dismal defeat at Salford and ahead to the Challenge Cup semi-final with Warrington.

GRAHAM POULTER

Jordan Thompson.

Jordan Thompson.

Friday was an absolute horror show especially after the performance over Widnes where Leeds produced as a team in both attack and defence.

The Salford game was the complete opposite. They didn’t display enough desire, energy, hunger or pride individually or collectively. This team need to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask themselves ‘am I doing enough to add to the team?’.

The answer will be a big fat NO. I’ve said in previous pieces some of these blokes aren’t up to the job of wearing the jersey and the huge burden that it carries. I’m being proved correct.

Thank goodness Love Island has finished because, judging by some of the players on social media it’s proved a distraction.

Nathaniel 'Peteru in training ahead of the Challenge Cup semi-final.

Nathaniel 'Peteru in training ahead of the Challenge Cup semi-final.

Get your head in the game fellas – it’s your job. I feel Warrington in the Challenge Cup semi on Sunday could well be a walk in the park for them, so come on Leeds. Are you afraid of the big, bad Wolves or are you going to put in a performance to give yourselves a chance of playing at Wembley?

Show us what you’re made of.

If you have anything about you, you will. Over to you fellas!

DIANNE HALL

Talk about after the Lord Mayor’s show! All the optimism that the previous couple of weeks brought disappeared in 80 minutes of total rubbish!

Everyone expected Sir Kev to make a difference but even he can’t perform miracles.

Scoring first so quickly didn’t have the desired effect. In fact the opposite happened; it woke Salford up.

Before we knew it, our woeful defence returned along with its friend toothless attack!

It was good to see Nathaniel Peteru back as he gave us some bite when he was on and Jordan Thompson had a decent debut. The rest played like strangers. Maybe they had one eye on the semi-final?

I was starting to have a bit of hope for our forthcoming semi-final with the Wire.

Now I am not so sure.

Wire had a tough game on Thursday, we on the other hand put no effort in and should be the fresher – even playing 24 hours later.

We used to know how to win big games.

I would like to think that we can remember how to do that again on Sunday.

MATT FOWLER

We are “on the right track” is what we were told after the victory against Widnes. It appears we have managed to find reverse gear and also a totally different track in one week. Impressive stuff.

The showing at Salford was embarrassing for all concerned. What will make it even more embarrassing is if the players, so devoid of fight, suddenly have all the energy in the world come semi-final day.

It will show them up for picking and choosing which games are important to them.

As a lifelong fan I have news for them. Every game requires 100 per cent commitment and desire. Deciding not to show up for a game is not an option when you wear the Leeds shirt. Kevin [Sinfield] knows it is unacceptable and I expect him to swing the axe on those who do not have the desire or fortitude to carry the shirt with pride week in, week out.

This week’s task is not impossible, but it will require a game plan and performance not seen at all this year.

Everyone will need to put in a nine-out-of-10 performance. The least I expect is for us to put up a fight.

CHRISTINE KIDD

What a start to the weekend. Two-and-a-half hours to get to Salford and then an abysmal performance by Leeds Rhinos.

This was one of the worst Rhinos performances of the year and brings home to everyone that Leeds Rhinos are going to have to put in some much better performances in the next few weeks if they are to stay in Super League.

They couldn’t even get the basics right a lot of the time and the defence which had looked much improved in the previous two games was non-existent at times.

Who knows what will happen on Sunday in the Challenge Cup semi-final against Warrington Wolves?

The players themselves now have to take on the responsibility of keeping the Rhinos in Super League.

It is up to each and every one of them to play to the best of their ability over the next eight weeks.

One advantage for the Rhinos is they don’t have to travel to Toulouse or Toronto.

Good luck to Leeds Rhinos Ladies in their Challenge Cup final against Castleford Tigers Ladies on Saturday.

IAN SHARP

I’m not sure how we go from nilling a side one week to then coming up with that tripe on Friday night.

Yes, we rested a few players against Salford but the ones on the pitch were a shadow of what they have been.

It was embarrassing to be honest. To play a side with one less man for almost an hour and not only not make it count but to be beaten easily is relegation form.

Picking up more injuries in the pack too only compounded a dismal night – for the fans and team alike.

I do wonder if it’s even worth turning up this week for the semi-final because, on the showing that Warrington had at Saints last week, I can see a ‘cricket score’ never mind a rugby score.

Maybe getting knocked out of the cup will then let us focus on staying in Super League, because, on last Friday’s performance, the Championship teams will be circling like sharks with the scent of blood for a ‘big scalp’.

We are in a dogfight.

Let’s hope the players realise the gravity of the situation we find ourselves in.

ADAM ANDERSON

One step forward, three steps back. That’s probably the best way to explain that dismal Salford game last week.

We had quite a number of players missing, whether that’s through injury or rested, but that’s no excuse, because the team we had out was good enough to beat Salford. If we perform like that in the middle-eights, we will be in big trouble.

The Challenge Cup semi-final is upon us in the meantime and I’m excited for the big day on Sunday against Warrington Wolves at Bolton.

If the Rugby Football League keeps it as a double-header every year, it’ll be an extra occasion for rugby league fans to enjoy.

Hopefully we can come away with the win in this one and have something to look forward to with a trip to Wembley Stadium.

Also, I would like to say a massive good luck to the Leeds Rhinos women this weekend in their Challenge Cup final on Saturday against Castleford Tigers.

It’s really disappointing that the final and the plate final are being played over the Pennines with four Yorkshire teams involved on the day.