Our YEP Jury have their say on the victory at Featherstone and the task ahead at home to Hull KR tomorrow.
Just as losing becomes a habit, so does winning.
With six wins out of the last seven matches you would be forgiven if you watched Leeds and mistook them for a side challenging for trophies this year. In recent years Leeds have often come good at the right time, but this year they left it too late and are now in the battle against relegation.
Leeds kicked off their fight with a comprehensive win over Featherstone at the Big Fellas Stadium and although the Rovers performed admirably they were eventually outclassed by a stronger and fitter side.
That game and Hull KR’s thrashing of Batley poses the question of whether it is viable to have a Championship with mostly part-time teams who in reality have very little chance of competing with any full time Super League squad.
I think the gap between the Championship and Super League is much larger than most believe and a club’s best chance of promotion is to win the Million Pound Game by finishing fourth or fifth.
This week will see the first instance of the full-time Championship clubs playing Super League and it will be interesting to see how well they can compete compared to last year, although I’m not sure any club except Leigh have the experience and talent to beat any full-time Super League team.
This week Leeds face Hull KR at Headingley, a game they lost during the regular season. Hull KR are my pick to be in the Million Pound Game and they will be desperate to beat a Super League team to try avoid this. Unfortunately for them they are coming against a Leeds team who look set on winning every game in the Qualifiers and putting the fans’ fears to rest. Since the recruiting of James Segeyaro Leeds look like a whole different team; they have great line speed, hit hard in defence and always look to be on the front foot in attack.
The amount of titles Leeds have won without a recognised hooker is unbelievable and hopefully Segeyaro stays to fill the long-vacant role. The Rhinos will be seeking revenge this week and I can’t see past Leeds winning comfortably.
It was the start of the Qualifiers most Leeds fans wanted and expected. A thoroughly professional performance for 80 minutes where the gulf in class, fitness and skill showed the longer the game went on.
Full credit to Featherstone, you couldn’t fault their effort and they definitely gave Leeds a workout, especially for a period in the first half.
The team picked shows how much we have been missing this season and on current form would be giving those in the top-four a run for their money.
The game on Saturday went as I expected with a close first half or so and Leeds pulling away as Featherstone tired.
Our forwards gave a strong platform to allow Segeyaro quick ball to free up our back line.
Giving Joel Moon and Kallum Watkins space and time with the ball would cause trouble to most defences and this showed during the game.
The only blot was the injury to Brett Delaney but hopefully this is not too serious.
On to tomorrow night and a return after what seems like an age to Headingley. Playing Hull KR has been tough this year and we know about the threats they possess, especially Albert Kelly.
Now that the squad appears fully fit we should again be too strong for them, especially at home and get another win.
A disciplined and clinical performance was needed on Saturday and the Rhinos delivered. Leeds had a clear game plan which they stuck to and the team reaped the reward.
McDermott had almost a full squad to select from and with Stevie Ward back in training let’s hope the injuries of 2016 are a distant memory. Certainly Kallum Watkins flourished with the return of the senior squad members.
The pressure of ‘Middle 8s’ is a new concept for Leeds, but one they handled really professionally on Saturday. We need repeat performances over the next few weeks and then they can start building – both as a team and at Headingley with the new South Stand – for 2017.
A win tomorrow against Hull KR will settle most nerves.
One down six to go, after a very professional performance at Featherstone. It was great to see some of the free-flowing rugby that got us the treble last season and I hope we continue that tomorrow night. We owe Hull KR for the home defeat we suffered against them earlier on in the season.
While Saturday’s game showed the level of play we are capable of, it also highlighted just how big the gap is between Super League and the Championship.
Full credit to Featherstone, they played well, produced some great runs and were unlucky not to be level at half-time. Fortunately for us, we pressed on, the tries kept coming and we were simply too strong.
We play Hull KR at home tomorrow, another Super League team who’ll be looking to go unbeaten in the Qualifiers.
We beat them away a few weeks ago so I don’t see why we can’t do the same again.
It would be nice to rack up another big score and send out the message that we’re the team to beat.
There was no fuss at Post Office Road on Saturday – Leeds just picked up where they left off and got the job done! I suppose that the last few weeks have shown that Leeds would probably be competing towards the top-four of Super League had it not been for 20 consistent weeks of injuries.