Leeds Rhinos v Widnes Vikings: YEP jury predictions

Ryan Bailey.
Ryan Bailey.
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The YEP jury have their say ahead of Leeds Rhinos v Widnes Vikings.


Leeds Rhinos remain unbeaten this season, albeit by the skin of their teeth. The Rhinos will view it as a point gained rather than a point lost.

Huddersfield have had the better of Leeds in recent seasons, having won the last five games between them before last Friday. Leeds have to go back to that epic night in 2011 when they beat the Giants in the play-offs for their last win.

Leeds headed into the game on the back of three straight victories and playing some of the best rugby they’ve played under Brian McDermott.

The Giants, in contrast, have so far failed to live up to expectations after finishing top last season.

Leeds headed to Huddersfield with nearly a full-strength squad, something they very rarely had last season.

Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Mitch Achurch coming in for the first time this season with Ryan Bailey and Chris Clarkson dropping out really shows just how fierce the competition for places is.

It was the second game running Brian McDermott has started with Paul Aiton at hooker instead of Rob Burrow, who started the game on the bench.

It was the Rhinos who scored first through Stevie Ward, who has been very impressive since coming back from injury last year.

The Giants were next to score, but had the ‘try’ chalked off after Kylie Leuluai was obstructed in the build up.

Huddersfield again managed to get over the whitewash, but had the try disallowed for a forward pass and it wasn’t long after the Giants had a hat-trick of tries turned down after Joe Wardle put his foot over the dead ball line while grounding the ball.

Finally Huddersfield did get their rewards when ex-Leeds man Jodie Broughton scored on his debut, but Danny Brough couldn’t add the extras from out wide.

Huddersfield were awarded a penalty on the sroke of half-time, but again Danny Brough failed with the attempt which meant Leeds went in 6-4 up at the break.

The second half saw Huddersfield getting more and more possession, but they could not penetrate a strong defensive effort from the Rhinos.

JJB was penalised for a high shot on Luke Robinson which Brough landed to make the scores level.

Leeds were awarded a penalty which Kevin Sinfield added to push Leeds ahead. Huddersfield finally had a try awarded from the video ref’ with Wardle touching down in the corner.

With 10 minutes to go Kallum Watkins levelled the scores, but with the conversation missed it meant the scores were level and that’s how it finished with both sides missing drop goals at the death.

Leeds will have plenty to work on if they are going to beat a Widnes side who have won their three games so far this season.


Does Danny Brough have a preservation order on him? As we can’t seem to cut him down.

The holding down in the ruck was dreadful and at one point the ref’ seemed to lose control of the game. I was determined not to moan about the referees this year, but James Child missed so many offsides on Friday it was beyond a joke.

The idea of mixing up the kicks is a good idea, but we need another kicker to help put us in an attacking position on the fifth. A hard-fought point and a ball-width away from a win.

It seems the threat of relegation is spurring on some teams. Widnes had their scalps last year, but were not at the sharp end of the table. They have got off to a good start and will be bringing their ‘A’ game tomorrow.

Also, I’d like to know the reason behind Ben Jones-Bishop being left out on the cold. I thought the idea of building up a squad of great players was to have options and to rest players? In last year’s semi-final at Wigan, we played injured players at the cost of getting to Old Trafford.

I concede it’s hard not to pick Tom Briscoe on his form, but surely keeping them both fresh and match fit is the whole point of having a squad? Seems a bit unfair one of our best players in last few seasons does not get a chance. He proved his worth with three tries in as many minutes off the bench in Ryan Bailey’s testimonial.


Leeds will look at last week as a point gained rather than a point lost.

There were real moments of quality in defence but a little disjointed on occasion in attack. Credit for that though has to go to Huddersfield.

Widnes are unbeaten this season so will provide another good test for Leeds this week.


Described as a ‘ropey’ display by Brian McDermott and I would have to agree although we would probably have lost that game this time last year.

There was however no questioning the desire and commitment to the defensive cause against a Giants team who kept the ball alive extremely well. I will take the point and move on to the next challenge.

One other point from the Giants game was the noise and support created by the Rhinos travelling army. The away days really are turning into a great event with a real togetherness among the Rhinos fans.

This week Widnes arrive on the back of a good display against Salford but Leeds should have too much speed and class for the Vikings.


Last week’s game at Huddersfield was one that we could have lost but didn’t, thanks once again to another sterling defensive effort.

This week we take on Widnes, one of the few unbeaten teams in Super League this year. Once again it won’t be easy but hopefully the Rhinos will be up to the task.


Wow, what a nail-biter of a game last Friday was. I think it was more a point gained rather than a point lost.

It would be interesting to know why Brian McDermott didn’t utilise the extra man on the bench as Mitch Achurch didn’t come on. If someone would have offered seven points from the first four games – including playing Warrington, Huddersfield and Catalan – I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one that’s happy with that.

Onwards to Widnes tomorrow, who have been good so far this season.

Joe Mellor and Rhys Hanbury are playing well together.

Hopefully the lads can keep hold of these and if so, the two points should be ours.

Josh Charnley, Vassos Alexander, Chris Evans and Jamie Jones-Buchanan with the Challenge Cup.

Leeds Rhinos: Jones-Buchanan in his element at Challenge Cup draw