Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds Rhinos’ victory over Hull and tomorrow’s clash at Wigan
The contrast between the games against Salford the previous week and the Hull match last Friday couldn’t have been more marked.
The Salford game was played with flair and fluidity, tries scored for fun; the Hull game was a war of attrition, all points were hard to come by, but thanks to a fine team effort, an excellent scrambling defence and Hull looking quite lost at times, Leeds took the two points which cemented their second position in the table.
Sadly, it came at a cost. Keith Galloway limped off during the first half with a season-ending leg injury, ironically against the same team in which he made his return from his previous injury. Big boots to fill!
At the same time, Stevie Ward came off after suffering a head injury, so reducing the usable substitutes to two! At one point it was difficult to ascertain who was supposed to be playing where, but both Jack Walker and Jordan Lilley had good games when they came on. Jimmy Keinhorst made a welcome return to the side, and made some telling contributions.
Wigan up next; both teams have a cup semi-final the following week, so the big question is what kind of team will the respective coaches field, considering that both teams have little or nothing to gain in the league table? Are we likely to see players rested or will they field the strongest team possible? Time will tell! The following week, we play Hull again; not for one moment will it replicate last week’s encounter.
I am sure that both teams will raise their game and that the standard of rugby on show will be far superior to that at Headingley. Providing we field a strong team, Leeds should win and return again to Wembley.
The news about Danny McGuire was received with mixed feelings. Some are of the opinion that he had made a wise move, whilst others say he should have stayed on. But all good things must come to an end. Danny has been inspiring for Leeds, he has been at the heart of all that has been good and has been a loyal clubman throughout his career. He goes with our best wishes.
The weather conditions, injuries and errors may have meant that the overall quality of the game last Friday night was not the high standard that was anticipated, and the fact that Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s successful ‘kick and collect’ was my personal highlight probably tells you all you need to know about the rest of the match.
However, the result certainly made up for that.
In the words of Brian McDermott, the Rhinos produced a dogged performance to claim the two competition points that secured second place in the table with a round still to play, a great achievement considering some of the concerns over Leeds this season.
The win did come at a cost, though, as Keith Galloway unfortunately suffered another season-ending Achilles injury just as he was finding his rhythm after his last spell on the sidelines, summing up his luck during his time in England. Stevie Ward was also forced off with a head injury, but hopefully he will be fit enough to play a part at the DW tomorrow.
With the pressure off the clash with Wigan, I would like to see us take it a little easier with the Cup semi-final coming up next week.
Also, if things stay the way they are, our Super-8s’ fixtures would be very difficult, so a defeat wouldn’t actually be the worst thing in the world.
Last week I said the Salford victory put Leeds into the contenders bracket and the challenge was to back up that claim against Hull.
After a tight, and some may say dull, first half I was particularly impressed with their second-half performance.
A rejigged team and a few fortunate refereeing decisions and two competition points against a top-four rival were secured. Shaun Wane often has the tactical edge over Brian McDermott so it’ll be interesting to see how the up-and-down form team come at the contenders tomorrow night.
They’ll be wound up, focused and determined, but have they the form or personnel to trouble Leeds? Keep an eye on George Williams; good half-backs tend to have good days against Leeds.
The hard-fought win against Hull came at a cost with injuries, but definitely secures Leeds into second spot in the league with the split pending.
Tomorrow’s trip to Wigan is effectively meaningless, so may be a good excuse to rest a few tired bodies with much bigger fish to fry on the horizon.
A very good two points would be how I’d describe last Friday night.
Our performance with ball in hand was scratchy to say the least, but with all the moving around of players and positions due to the injuries, it was a really good team effort, full of desire and a real willingness to help each other – something we will need in the coming couple of months. A huge blow for me on Friday was the cruel injury to Keith Galloway; for me Keithy puts his hand up every week and really digs in, nothing flash or fancy but makes the tackles and runs in all day long. Get well soon ‘big red’.
Tomorrow is a strange one. I’d love to go over to Wigan and beat them, but, for me, maybe resting a few key players for the semi-final is maybe the wiser option.
As the regular season creeps to a close the games get tighter and harder than ever. Last week’s game saw the Rhinos claw a win from Hull. A fight for hard-earned points, it was Leeds that dominated overall. Can they close this part of the season with a repeat performance against Wigan?