An overriding sense of disappointment pervades the thoughts and reactions of the Yorkshire Evening Post Leeds Rhinos jurors.
The odd one thought Rhinos had an outside chance of a shock win, especially after still being in with a shout at half-time.
But each echoed the others’ thoughts when they highlighted bad habits creeping back into the side’s game.
Take a look, and see if their thoughts resonate with yours.
So we go into the week off no worse but no better than we were in terms of the league table.
With three games left, it’s mathematically possible all five teams at the bottom could be relegated – Leeds included.
I’ll talk about the London game next week so I’ll focus on what went wrong against Saints. Ball management and one-on-one tackling seemed to be the obvious.
Too many times we turned over possession by forcing the pass.
We let Saints off too easily with our attack by not keeping the pressure on them with a decent kicking game.
They then made easy metres with ball in hand and poor tackling allowed them to off-load or break through at will.
Three times we have played them and three times we’ve had poor periods in each game and it’s cost us.
They are a good team but we let them play and it wasn’t a struggle for them to score which was disappointing.
A positive was Ash Handley and his try scoring. He seems to be getting better each week.
The wait goes on for Leeds Rhinos to notch up three Super League wins in a row in 2019, and we now have only one more chance to achieve such a feat this season.
As it happens, I’d accept just the one win from our final three games – preferably our next fixture versus London. After results this weekend, a victory for Leeds in the capital all but ends the excitement that other clubs have in regard to the potential relegation of Leeds.
This is a fixture that I would expect us to win as well given our recent performances and form.
It would be unfair to say that last week’s performance against the league leaders, St Helens, would be Leeds back to the usual poor standards that have been on show for the majority of 2019.
But, let’s face it, it would be very hard to judge Leeds against a team that has lost only three competitive fixtures this season – two of which they willingly gifted to the opposition.
All we can do this weekend is rest and enjoy what I’m sure will be an enthralling Challenge Cup final and prepare to do the business the following week.
At half-time on Thursday, I genuinely thought we had a good chance of going on to win the game against runaway Super League leaders, St Helens.
Level at half-time, despite making quite a lot of errors with the ball, perhaps also unlucky to have Ash Handley’s ‘try’ chalked off for a forward pass. It wasn’t forward, in my opinion.
Unfortunately, the second half was very disappointing.
The two back-to-back tries, from our own mistakes, set us back and we never recovered.
I suppose it was a positive to see the lads kick on until the end and close the final margin to 16 points.
That might be important in the final reckoning.
It was all just a bit ‘frantic’ with the ball, off-loading when there was no one in support or trying to off-load in our own half.
Regardless of the players Saints had missing, they still had too much quality to make those sort of errors.
In the subsequent interviews, the players seem to be aware they had gone away from what had worked in the previous weeks. A win would have made us safe in all likelihood.
I was disappointed about this game against table-topping St Helens as I still think we had the potential to win it with our recent performances.
We started very well and, on another day, Ash Handley would have had four tries.
And I still think we were incredibly unlucky with the ‘forward pass’.
This would have forced Saints into chasing the game in the second half and who knows what the result could have turned out to be.
Our tackling wasn’t as good as it has been lately and the handling was sloppy from many of our key players.
Maybe we just weren’t meant to win with a few 50/50s not going our way and Rhyse Martin missing his first conversion attempts in three weeks.
The last 20 minutes showed that, when we want to, we can be a very dangerous team.
I just wish we could have played like that for the previous 60 minutes.
All things considered, we still have a massive game coming up against London Broncos which we simply have to win to secure our place in Super League next season.
Last week’s game really showed how far we have to go before we start competing for titles again.
Whenever I have watched St Helens this season, they have looked a different class, and Thursday was no different. Despite the fact they were missing several star players (Coote, Roby, Walmsley), Saints always looked capable of turning things up a few gears, which is exactly what they did in the second half.
I think we did well to stay in the game as long as we did, and we even came back into it towards the end to ensure our points difference remained better than the teams around us, which could be very important come the end of the season.
Once again, we made some very worrying errors, showcasing the style of rugby which has got us into the position we are in this year. Defensively, we were all over the place; in attack, we lacked composure and panicked when we really didn’t need to; and, overall, we looked a bit lost.
Hopefully a week off gives us chance to regroup for the must-win game of the season against London.
Back to reality last week against St Helens.
We were beaten in every department last week and it showed that we have a long way to go for us to get back to being the best in the league.
We looked very lethargic, especially early in the second half where we gave Saints the victory.
They found a weakness in our defence with Kevin Naiqama who scored a very well-deserved hat-trick.
Our left-hand edge of Konrad Hurrell and Ash Handley was very effective as it has been all season.
Losing Ava Seumanufagai early in the game was also a huge loss, especially since he has come in, he has done the real hard yards for us.
I think St Helens will be too good for Warrington in the Challenge Cup final and I think they have a very good chance of winning the treble this year.
With London winning in Perpignan, the relegation battle has conjured up another twist.
It does make the trip down to London next week a must-win game.