Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds Rhinos’ derby clash with Castleford tonight.
Last week I rallied the call to get behind a Challenge Cup run to save our season, but come 10 o’clock last Friday night Huddersfield had put this belief to bed. Bottom of Super League and out of the Challenge Cup – surely things can only get better?
If our season didn’t end on Friday night then I imagine that it will if we fail to defeat Castleford Tigers tonight. The team in eighth come to Headingley five points ahead of Leeds and another loss would surely make the top eight drift away from Leeds too much.
With being knocked out of the Cup, all of ours eggs are in one basket now, and from the present situation, making the top eight would be positive.
Despite the 36-22 scoreline in favour of Huddersfield, the real winners were the Leeds fans who stayed until the end, passionately belting out “stand up, for the Champions” – this suggests to me that there is increased togetherness at what is a tough time for Leeds at the moment, and really made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
It seems to me that Leeds just cannot get everything right in a game this year – if any performance aspect is good one week then it doesn’t tend to be the next – and it’s this that is racking up the defeats.
Furthermore, there is not enough team-play at the moment too, just lots of good individual performers, such as Rob Burrow, Jimmy Keinhorst and Jordan Lilley.
A streak of wins won’t come until 17 men turn up and play well together.
My main issue with the performance at Huddersfield last Friday is that Leeds just didn’t play as smart as they did the previous week, playing too many risky balls and attacking moves just generally not sticking. The effort and determination was apparent, but all in all it was just another frustrating night.
The only positive of being dumped out of the Challenge Cup is that Leeds will have three weeks off between now and the end of the season, which for a tired group of players should prove invaluable.
Anyway, all Leeds can do is keep trying, and hopefully send me to work tomorrow morning with a smile on my face.
Last week represented a special loss for the Rhinos, as they were dumped out of the Challenge Cup by Huddersfield in yet another dismal performance.
I predicted that due to Leeds’ big game mentality they may have been able to find a performance worthy of advancing to the quarter-final, although it appears this mentality has now been lost.
The Challenge Cup was Leeds’ best chance of winning silverware this year, and after their exit it is safe to say the trophy cabinet will be empty come the end of October.
The Rhinos’ next four games are against Castleford, Wigan, Warrington and Catalans and it is a real struggle to see where Leeds’ fourth win of the season will come from.
To have a realistic chance of making the top eight Leeds must win tonight and one other of the above games, if not, it will be time to start preparing for the middle eights.
Castleford have not been in their best form this year, but after a realy gutsy performance against Salford last week, spirits will be high in their camp.
They always turn up when playing Leeds and tonight will be no exception.
While Castleford’s spirit is high, Leeds’ will be almost as low as it can be and without a miraculous turn-around they will be facing another defeat tonight.
Usually, when clubs are knocked out of the Challenge Cup, it’s a good excuse to focus on the league, something which we clearly need to do this year.
Last week’s loss was a massive blow, and it’s hard to see how we’re going to work our way out of that bottom spot, looking at the games we’ve got coming up.
Improvement in defence is drastically needed this week against Castelford, as well as better discipline across the board. I also wouldn’t say no to few bodies back from the injury list.
On the attacking front we are producing some good plays, but dropped balls are proving costly for us.
It’s not easy being a Rhinos fan right now, but we’ll get there in the end!
It is hard to stay positive as a Rhinos fan at the moment. After the defeat on Friday I feel the Super-8s have now slipped from our grasp. A tough game tonight against Castleford, who have players returning from injury. The reality is that this season is now a building block for future years.
Two down one to go. Another of last year’s trophies unsuccessfully defended. I’m running out of new things to say after yet another defeat and the same problems coming to the fore.
We displayed ill discipline and soft defence to start with and allowed Danny Brough too much time on the ball. I’m also not sure why our Man of Steel full-back played on the wing?!
On to this week and the Castleford Tigers. They love nothing more than to get one over their big city rivals. It will take a massive change in fortune and the return of some injured players to get the two points.
Perhaps we will finally start to play like the defending champions and get off the bottom of the table!
Some of the experienced players are simply not pulling their weight to the cause and Brian McDermott seems to be oblivious to it. Him saying we can make the top four is laughable at best. We have to win tonight or else you can kiss goodbye any hopes of finishing in the top eight.