Leeds Rhinos Jury: Super League tagline could have been written for new-look Leeds

Leeds Rhinos Trent Merrin.
Leeds Rhinos Trent Merrin.
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Our brand new Leeds Rhinos’ fans’ panel give their verdicts on how the pre-season campaign has gone and look at the prospects for the trip to Warrington on Saturday.

ANDREW SUTCLIFFE

Leeds Rhinos' Konrad Hurrell.

Leeds Rhinos' Konrad Hurrell.

New beginnings has never been a more apt tagline going into the new season, especially concerning Leeds Rhinos.

The stadium is starting to look amazing and will hopefully this season have a team worthy of playing in it.

So, on to the team and thoughts for the new season. Could it be as bad as last year? Most would think not. All the signs appear positive with the changes which began last year.

From the top to the bottom there has been a shake up and review and bringing back members of the golden generation should only stabilise the club moving forward.

Warrington Wolves' Josh Charnley.

Warrington Wolves' Josh Charnley.

A new coach with fresh ideas should be good to watch along with finally using the marquee signing capability – it’s been crying out to be used for years.

Konrad Hurrell appears to be a crowd favourite already and Trent Merrin will lead the pack. Add in the creativeness of Tui Lolohea that should add a decent threat on attack.

I still feel we lack something in the forwards but the new interchange rules may prove fitness over size!

New beginnings!

LUKE CROSSFIELD

As we begin with fresh optimism for the upcoming season, I feel that we have made huge strides in the off season.

The signings of Konrad Hurrell and Trent Merrin are exactly what the club needed.

After watching the pre-season matches, we seem to be playing a more structured game, especially in attack.

Cameron Smith has really impressed me this off season and should benefit from the new interchange rule.

We have a very tough start to the season with four away games across the Pennines. Up first, Warrington who are hoping Blake Austin will be the difference and it will finally be ‘their year’.

Josh Charnley will be a major threat on the wing after coming back and fitting in seamlessly from union last year.

Best of luck to the academy, women’s and men’s teams for the upcoming season. The club now appeals to a wider demographic and it is exciting times with the rebuilt Headingley at the forefront of it.

I can’t wait for the 2019 season to start and what it will bring.

OLIVER HAWKHEAD

New rules and impressive signings make for an exciting time to be a rugby league fan!

For a Leeds Rhinos supporter, it is even more appetising as we have a team very capable of playing some eye-catching footy.

Pre-season has been fairly successful with the boys looking comfortable amidst the recent stadium developments.

I think the performances showed promise and I’m sure we haven’t seen the Rhinos’ true potential in a squad which blends international experience with raw, young hunger.

Our first match against Warrington Wolves has the ingredients to be an opening round classic, in a game that seems to have so much on the line already.

Tui Lolohea versus Blake Austin will be a mouthwatering battle and Tui’s fellow Tongan, Konrad Hurrell, is a centre who brings the firepower into a back line that, for me, lacks finishing quality. These first few fixtures against title rivals could prove pivotal come the end of the season, as a few losses could give Leeds a huge task come the campaign run-in.

THOMAS LAWRENCE

The last time I wrote for this jury, in 2016, it was a season dubbed ‘new beginnings’ by Leeds Rhinos.

Now, in 2019, it is the motto for Super League, yet it feels more specific to Leeds: new coach, new club structure, exciting new arrivals, new Headingley Stadium, not to mention the underwhelming new structure of the Super League. 2018 was a season to forget for Leeds. Despite the bright start to the season, Leeds faded after a ridiculous amount of one-point defeats.

In 2019, Leeds have been dealt a tricky start with four away games, the first of which is to Warrington on Saturday, an opening test that Leeds passed in 2018 as Wire were adapting to the coaching of Steve Price. This year, the shoe is on the other foot for Leeds – in the earliest of days under Dave Furner’s coaching – with Warrington now established under Price with a strengthened squad aiming to go one further in 2019.

For me, the Leeds performance will speak louder volumes than the result in what will be one of two fascinating sporting affairs for our city’s teams this Saturday evening.

KATIE BURROWS

This is the most excited I’ve been for the season to kick off for a few years now and, having spoken to a few other fans, it sounds like everyone is feeling very positive.

We’ve made some good signings and I’ve been really impressed by what I’ve seen in pre-season, particularly from the likes of Konrad Hurrell and Nathaniel Peteru.

Tui Lolohea looks strong and has shown good potential with his kicking game.

I’m also excited to see more of Trent Merrin – he looks to be a solid replacement for Brett Delaney.

Ash Handley appears to have bulked up a bit in the off season and he had an impressive game against Castleford Tigers, although I do worry that we might miss Ryan Hall on that left wing.

Warrington away is always a tough fixture for us to start off with but I think we could be in with a shout, despite them already being tipped as favourites for this year’s title.

All I’m hoping for is a good Rhinos performance to kick us off and that it’s not too cold on Saturday.

Bring on the Wire!

TIM NUTTALL

The 2018 season will be a season no-one connected with the Leeds Rhinos will look back on too fondly; let’s just leave that in the past, shall we?

There has obviously been a lot of change at the club during the off season; the return of Dave Furner as our new head coach, a restructure within the backroom staff, not to mention pretty major changes within the playing squad means it will be very interesting to see how things settle down and how our style of play may evolve under Furner.

Our pre-season results have been a little mixed, but it is easy to get caught up in pre-season results.

Clearly the real business opens up this Saturday against Warrington Wolves, who are being tipped, possibly rightly so, to (finally) be the team to beat!

It will be a tough opening game, but the second half against Castleford Tigers in pre-season was positive and the lads played some good stuff.

Our defence will have to be spot on and we have to be brave with the ball in hand.