Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds Rhinos’ victory over Huddersfield and the challenge ahead against Wigan tomorrow.
What a difference three weeks makes. Watching the grim scenes that saw us unravel at Castleford a few weeks ago I honestly didn’t think we would bounce back in such a manner that hasn’t been since Kevin Sinfield and Jamie Peacock were around.
After two cracking home wins we faced a Huddersfield side buoyed by a draw at Wigan the week before at a ground which isn’t always too kind for us, but in a champion-team style we managed to find a way to win the game, despite the performance not being the best, especially in the second half.
The return of Jamie Jones-Buchanan was a good boost and with the good form of Jordan Baldwinson and Anthony Mullally tagged along with the near return of Stevie Ward we now look a squad capable of challenging the best sides again.
Tomorrow sees my favourite home game of the season and a clash with our old rivals Wigan, no matter what shape or form either side are in this match always produces a good game and I expect another good battle.
I feel if Adam Cuthbertson, Brett Ferres and the pack get into the Wigan big boys, I believe our back line and the outstanding Matt Parcell will take care of the rest and keep us up at the top end of the table.
A quick word to the masses of Leeds fans that travelled over to Huddersfield on Friday, it sounded like a home game and our support continues to be outstanding.
Our rollercoaster season continued on an upward trend last week with a comfortable victory over Huddersfield.
A fairly impressive first half and a workmanlike second half gave us the two points and ensured a lofty position of third in Super League.
The hope is that we are not about to hit the downward part of the rollercoaster tomorrow against Super League champions Wigan.
Wigan are decimated with injuries but the famous production line is throwing out some talented youngsters that are more than adequately filling the gaps so they are not to be taken lightly.
If we are not “covering the cracks” and really are on the up again then this will be the one fixture since the now infamous email where Leeds will really be tested.
Gary Hetherington gave notice to all connected to the Leeds Rhinos that after this game he would take stock and see where we are as a club. Win tomorrow and even Brian McDermott’s biggest critics will concede things are looking better, lose tomorrow and it could be said we’ve won the games we should have, yet have come up short on the real test.
Either way, a good game is in prospect and if Parcell, Cuthbertson, McGuire, Keinhorst, Garbutt, et al keep up their recent form, there are reasons to be optimistic.
Leeds’ season so far, with the first four uninspiring performances culminating in the farce at Castleford being followed by three successive wins, remains a mystery wrapped in an enigma. And so the season rolls on to one of the biggest tests of the year, the visit of the defending champions Wigan to Headingley tomorrow night.
Already it seems that they have got their excuses in early, regarding their injury problems and they should be ripe for the taking if Leeds are confident enough to match up to the Wigan pack and as the early-season momentum falters for the leading clubs, it opens the top of the league up nicely for the chasing pack. Perhaps this game, rather than Castleford, should be the yardstick against which progress should be measured.
The scoreline may have flattered us slightly following a close and error filled encounter, but any win at Huddersfield goes down as a good one in my book. Tomorrow’s clash with injury-ravaged Wigan will be tricky as the Warriors’ young, makeshift side have shown that they are capable of giving anyone a tough game.
There’s hints everywhere. A few mumbles are getting louder. Hope is starting form quietly in the background. Dare we say it, but Leeds appear to be on good form.
It’s been a while since I’ve felt I could say that. Admittedly, Friday’s game wasn’t the smoothest, with the Giants’ antics and Rhinos’ responses. Yet it can be said we’re rattling out the wins.
It’s given us a quiet sense of momentum that makes this week’s game against the Warriors seem less of an uphill battle. Wigan are a tough team for Leeds, you only have to look at the previous Magic Weekend scores to see that. We know how to win it, it’s all in the execution, however. This game isn’t written in stone. If we can keep our cool we stand a good chance of eking out another win.
It wasn’t pretty, in fact it was ugly at times, but in the end it was two valuable points; a gritty determination not to concede especially in the second half that saw Leeds through. Wigan next, and if we can cut out the silly penalties and mistakes, another two points should be on the cards.