Leeds Rhinos jury: Worrying to see Rhinos’ standards slipping again

Jordan Lilley
Jordan Lilley
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Our YEP Jury look back at Leeds Rhinos’ home defeat to Castleford.

Dianne Hall

The jubilant Castleford fans were singing that they were here to spoil our party and they did just that!

Helped by some very poor officiating from our favourite referee James Child, we did ourselves no favours by starting off how we left the Catalans game, very poorly. The most pleasing part of the game was how we fought back from the early deficit of 12 points to lead just before half-time, only to let Castleford draw level before the half-time hooter.

The second half started badly when Sir Kev left the field limping, later diagnosed as a dead leg. The Tigers then hit us with two quick-fire tries, one from a run by Matt Cook, who virtually ran the full length of the field unopposed before off-loading, and another from a good break by Ben Roberts, poorly defended.

On Thursday night there were not many parts of the game in the first half where we concentrated on the basics, building pressure and hunting opposition mistakes.

The second half was 20 minutes of a scoring frenzy followed by the last 20 minutes with only one point being scored despite us battering the Castleford line.

If this had happened earlier in the season the game would have been won by a decent margin. Any pressure that we did build was relieved by an unfathomable penalty.

When is an obstruction not an obstruction? The one highlight in the game came from Jordan Lilley, who performed admirably and gave the supporters another glimpse of the bright future for the Rhinos.

It is very worrying how we have fallen off from the standards that we set, up to and including the Challenge Cup final, and despite the assurances from the players, coaches and staff of “fixing it” we don’t seem to have done that.

The same problems occur – poor tackling, indiscipline, bad play options and needlessly looking to score on every possession. Where is that wonderful defence that we were so proud of earlier in the season? If the season is not to end in complete humiliation we have to win at Huddersfield tomorrow – not an easy place to go especially when the Giants are playing so well.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that this season does not end like a damp squib as many have before.

Jamie Smith

A third consecutive defeat has ensured that the last game this week will be a nervy one.

After finding ourselves 12-0 behind early, we fought our way back into the game and took the lead before Zak Hardaker had a try chalked off by the video ref’ for obstruction.

Castleford then levelled the scores with a try that should have also been disallowed for obstruction, but once again inconsistency from the officials played a big part in a crucial decision.

One of these days the RFL will have to address this situation.

Two early tries after the break put the Tigers in full command and, despite a try from Adam Cuthbertson with 25 minutes remaining, we couldn’t find our way over the line again.

The only shining light was that Wigan slipped up 24 hours later to leave the destiny of the league leaders’ shield in our own hands.

Our final Super-8s fixture is a Yorkshire derby at Huddersfield Giants tomorrow, which, over recent years, hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for us.

And this is one going to prove just as tough.

There’s a lot to play for as the Giants are still in with a shout of a top-two finish, and an all-important home fixture in the play-offs, so a strong all-round performance is a must. Rhinos by four.

Graham Poulter

OH OH Leeds, do you not want to create more history for yourselves?

Please tackle like you mean it and stop dropping the ball, it looks like you all still have the loopy juice inside you, a hangover from the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley. You just have to beat Huddersfield!

Anne Bosanquet

Well I’m afraid to say the performance against Castleford Tigers and was not an impressive one.

Castleford commanded the game and we came up short in a lot of areas.

It seems the Wembley curse has well and truly taken hold again.

It was frustrating to see the errors we were making, and the chances of tries which we throw away.

Jordan Lilly had a good performance and stood up to the game well. I do think the ruling on crossing needs to be looked at, as Catelford’s try was allowed and ours was disallowed.

I’m sure our next game against Huddersfield will be tough.

Hopefully we can put in a better performance than that.

Jon Winter

Another lacklustre display. Castleford Tigers deserved their victory!

2014 all over again? Somehow it is still in our hands, home advantage is huge in the play-offs, so I hope we don’t rest anyone knowing we have a semi-final the week after regardless of this game!

Craig Tarbotton

Last Thursday’s defeat to Castleford left me absolutely gutted.

All credit to Castleford, they deserved the win and played some fantastic rugby.

The Rhinos looked tired and frustrated especially in the middle of the park. I think we are missing Paul Aiton, just for his tackling alone.

Lets look at the positives though…

Jordan Lilley showed us he’s got what it takes to become a first team regular; he never took a back step and was our stand out performer.

We are still top of the league and victory over Huddersfield tomorrow will see us win the league leaders shield.

Regardless of the result tomorrow we are still one win away from another Grand Final appearance.

Disgraced England star Zak Hardaker in action for Castleford Tigers. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

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