Leeds Rhinos: Peter Smith’s highs and lows of the season

Ryan Hall touches down against Huddersfield to clinch the League Leaders Shield for Leeds Rhinos.
Ryan Hall touches down against Huddersfield to clinch the League Leaders Shield for Leeds Rhinos.
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Rugby league writer Peter Smith takes a look back at the highs and lows of Leeds Rhinos’ all-conquering, treble-winning season.

Best moment

There were a few. It would be hard to top the final whistle at Old Trafford, which confirmed Rhinos’ 22-20 Grand Final win over Wigan Warriors and completed the treble, but Ryan Hall’s try at Huddersfield Giants, after the hooter had sounded, was an ‘I was there’ moment and something fans will be talking about for years to come.

Low point

Leeds were thrashed 46-16 at Catalans on September 12. It was a dire performance, low on energy and enthusiasm and at that stage their season seemed to be coming off the rails.

Player of the year

Tough to pick just one after such an historic and successful season. Kallum Watkins won the club award, Zak Hardaker was Man of Steel and Adam Cuthbertson topped the Rugby League Writers’ and Broadcasters’ vote. Cuthbertson made a massive impact following his off-season move from Newcastle Knights, making a record number of offloads and he gets the nod.

Try of the season

Early in the second half of the Challenge Cup semi-final against St Helens, 37-year-old Jamie Peacock was suddenly 25 again, accepting a pass from Rob Burrow and stepping gloriously through a stunned and flat-footed defence for a try which brought the house down.

Unsung hero

As treble winners, Rhinos have received plenty of plaudits, but back-rower Carl Ablett rarely gets the credit he deserves and has dropped out of the England picture. He’s versatile and skilful, strong in the tackle, makes good metres and winds the opposition up. He was also Leeds’ only ever-present in a 36-game campaign.

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