Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds Rhinos Easter campaign.
Apologies in advance if you don’t like rants, but what should have been four points over the Easter period turned out to be none.
To turn Castleford’s early 12-0 lead around to 14-12 by half-time was very pleasing, but games have to be seen out and Leeds could not expand on the lead despite lots of possession and some good defensive sets to keep Castleford out for so long. In the end, we got what we deserved for not being clinical.
Undoubtedly, the most frustrating game this season so far was on Monday afternoon at Headingley, where in a truly appalling game Leeds once again got what they deserved for the most structureless performance that I have ever seen.
Times must be bad if the South Stand has to prompt players to kick the ball on the fifth tackle.
It was this type of lack of structure that ultimately won Wakefield the game in the end.
I cannot at all get my head around why on the last tackle with two and a half minutes to go at 16-16, Leeds chose to run on the blindside rather go inside and perhaps line up a drop goal attempt.
In such situations, the best structure would surely be to plan a one pointer – but no, not the Leeds of 2016. This failure to play simple rugby is proving costly.
This was not the only flaw in the Leeds performance on Monday afternoon – the line speed was poor and so was the lack of urgency at the play the ball to get phases flowing quickly.
I went to watch Yorkshire Carnegie on Sunday and they played some great attacking rugby which had Kevin Sinfield at the heart of it, putting hard running forwards into gaps on the flat bullet pass – where has that been with Leeds this season? Where are the fast and sharp passing moves that are continually seen from teams like Castleford and Warrington?
The absence of these types of play are for me, why we linger in 10th place after eight games.
Albeit, we now face three must-win games, and surely Danny McGuire must be back in contention, because if there was ever a time that we needed our captain, it is definitely now.
After two losses last week to Castleford and Wakefield it is fair to say that the Rhinos are in crisis.
With only two wins in the opening eight games of the season we are on course to finish in our worst league position since Super League began. One week ago Leeds opened the Easter fixtures with a game against local rivals Castleford; both teams were poor and had little attacking threat throughout the entirety of the game. Leeds’ defence was dire, often leaving large gaps which Castleford could easily break through.
Furthermore, for three-quarters of the game Leeds’ attack was virtually non-existent, the players have no direction and clearly lack a leader to take control of the game. Much of the same can be said about the game on Monday against Wakefield. Again the Rhinos left large holes in our defensive line and had no direction in attack, all our tries involved some amount of luck and Wakefield will be disappointed to have conceded them. Our last tackle options are appalling; too many times players are dying with the ball meaning our outside backs are seeing no action. Tomorrow, Hull KR travel to Headingley in what is again another must-win match. Leeds will undoubtedly be feeling the pressure now and without a miraculous turnaround from Monday, Hull KR will emerge victorious.
Even though we’re only eight games in, a top-four finish is becoming more and more unlikely and I’m struggling to remain positive as the weeks go by.
I thought we were unlucky at Castleford and probably deserved a draw – which we would have secured, had our kicking been on target – but Easter Monday was disappointing and Wakefield completely earned their win. I’ve said before that we need leadership and lack confidence and I think Monday’s defeat showed that this has never been more evident. I’m saddened to see that some fans are calling for McDermott to be sacked. I know it’s easy to be critical after last year, but I think the most important thing is that we get behind our team and show them the support they deserve.
No rising from the ashes for Leeds over Easter. Lacklustre performances against Cas and Wakefield see the Rhinos languishing near the bottom of Super League. Will the return of McGuire bring a return to winning ways? It has been a long time since Leeds so desperately needed a win.
What to say that hasn’t been said many times already this season.
Two defeats against teams we should be beating. We look like a team that doesn’t know how to win any more. Confidence looks at an all time low and we are struggling to score when having sustained pressure on the opponents’ line. Yes, we have been disrupted by the loss of the training facilities and injuries to key players during the season but that’s not an excuse for not having any heart and pride. This is the treble winners of last season currently third bottom and lucky to be that high up!
Anyone see that player wearing 10 for the Yorkshire Carnegie the other day? He looks fairly useful!! I pray for a win on Friday.
I would like to pay my respects to Billy Watts this week.
The man was a very important part of the club behind the scenes and was always there with a smile and being positive which is what we all need right now. RIP Billy Watts!