Leeds Rhinos Jury: Running out of ways to turn all Rhinos’ negatives into positives

Matt Parcell is tackled by Warrington's Harvey Livett and Mike Cooper.
Matt Parcell is tackled by Warrington's Harvey Livett and Mike Cooper.
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Our fans’ panel look back on Leeds Rhinos’ defeat to Warrington last week and ahead to tomorrow’s Cup clash at Widnes.

DIANNE HALL

Brian McDermott.

Brian McDermott.

Shocking! I’m running out of ways to turn this season’s negatives into positives.

Last Friday night everything looked to be one shambles after another, starting with our specialist hooker on the bench, a full-back – normally good under high balls – dropping them, though he did redeem himself later.

A couple of positives were Nathaniel Peteru playing his first game since February and no further injury worries.

My late father wondered, when we’d had a loss, just what our team did in training. Do they play cards and dominoes? I am beginning to think the same.

Ashton Golding celebrates his try against Warrington.

Ashton Golding celebrates his try against Warrington.

When we started playing, again we looked good, but didn’t press home our advantage or apply the killer punch. It’s always too little too late.

I went to see ‘As Good As It Gets?’ at the weekend and came away thinking that the current team don’t have half of the grit and determination that the team of 2015 had.

As for tomorrow’s cup game, I don’t know what to expect. I am hoping for our first victory at Widnes for a while, but who knows with us?

ADAM ANDERSON

I didn’t have the pleasure of being at the game last week owing to being on holiday, but I managed to watch it back on my return.

We seem to be struggling to get into games at this moment in time.

We can’t get started and then we seem to drive into the game when losing.

This shouldn’t be happening. Even then, we shouldn’t be losing a lead when we have it.

This is the second time this has happened now, with the Wigan game then Warrington.

Are the players unfit or are they just putting too much into the game when losing?

We wouldn’t really ever know, I suppose.

We are lucky we have a game in hand over Hull FC, in fourth place, but we need to ensure we get the results now, especially with Castleford Tigers – in fifth – having two games in hand over Hull FC and being level on points.

We really don’t want to get too far behind as it becomes a struggle once you start playing catch-up on the Super League ladder.

CHRISTINE KIDD

If Leeds could put together an 80-minute performance they would be winning games quite easily.

This is far from what’s happening at present as Rhinos are losing games, or occasionally grinding out a win, without looking too convincing. Last Friday’s game against Warrington was a good example. For the first 25 minutes Leeds were struggling with the pace and fluency of Warrington’s play. They were lucky to be only seven points down at half-time.

The first 20 minutes of the second half showed how the Rhinos can play. Winning 22-11, this game should have been over but then Leeds switched off and Warrington came back and won. Another two points thrown away! Tomorrow’s Challenge Cup game against Widnes is a must-win game; there will be no second chances.

Rhinos have shown what they are capable of, but they need to produce this form on a more consistent basis throughout games.

Widnes is a place where Leeds have found it difficult to get a result over the last few years. Let’s hope that changes this week.

MATT FOWLER

I think we are all getting a little tired of writing “another slow start” but here we are again.

The coaches and players are all aware of the issue and keep saying we need to rectify the issue but, as yet, the problem persists.

Talk is cheap and we need to wake up if we are to challenge for honours this year.

Last week, not only was it a poor start, it was a poor finish. Warrington were excellent but, after playing some good stuff to get to 11 points in front, we switched off again.

There were signs in that purple patch that were encouraging, but my mid-season mark would be a C.

Effort and defence, very good, but there’s still lots to work on.

This week, a slow start could well mean a Challenge Cup exit. Maybe a sudden-death game will focus the mind a little and Leeds will be ‘switched on’ from the outset.

It is not a happy hunting ground for us and, in reality, progression to the next round and no major injuries will be the order of the day.

Get the mind-set right and we should march on. Enjoy the game.

GRAHAM POULTER

The number 11 played a part in the loss to Warrington Wolves.

Warrington went into half-time leading us 11-4 and, in the second half, we managed to get ourselves ahead in the game to lead by 11 and then, to finish the game, we lost by 11. Leeds yet again started at a now-familiar pedestrian pace.

Hopefully, sometime soon the penny will drop to stop the opposition from taking the lead.

We eventually started to play and scored our two terrific tries, and it shows what they can do when they put their minds to it.

But then Leeds couldn’t continue to be ruthless.

They should have gone on to bury Warrington. Instead, Leeds crumbled like a house of cards.

I used to look forward to Leeds playing, but now they are so tedious to watch.

They lack desire, energy and have no invention in their play.

We rave about how good our defence is, but when you look at the top six teams, ours is the second worst.

And our attack is the second lowest. So, not good at both ends!

IAN SHARP

Note to the editor: I’ve got a report, but can you check for, onside, offside, a possible obstruction, spelling and grammar?

Sounds stupid, but it’s the same every week on Sky and it’s crazy; it takes so long to look at. Are they just showing off the super zoom? The first half lasted 55 minutes last week. Sort it out Sky.

Last week I said Mac (head coach Brian McDermott) was maybe an enigma. For last week, may I suggest just plain daft?

What on earth was he thinking to leave one of the league’s best hookers on the bench in one of the biggest games we have over the season, then expect Ash (Golding) to play hooker then switch his full-back head back on? I don’t blame him one bit for the two drops; that was Mac’s fault for playing him in two positions.

Yet again, in the first 30 minutes we were woeful and could not string anything together, then we clicked, started to throw the ball about and looked unbeatable, then we stopped doing it and returned to type and lost. I’ll not be upset if we lose in the cup; we need to concentrate on the league.