Leeds Rhinos: YEP Jury give their big match verdicts

Stevie Ward.
Stevie Ward.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on the clash at Hull KR and tomorrow’s home match with Widnes.


There was a lot of anticipation for the first game of the season and the Rhinos had good travelling support behind them at Hull KR.

I was hopeful for a strong start from the off – and wasn’t disappointed with Tom Briscoe going over for a try within the first minute.

After that though the game quickly went downhill, with Hull KR taking two quick breaks and scoring, with their new signing Albert Kelly putting points on the board.

In the first half of the game we were shaky defensively and left too many gaps for Hull KR to exploit.

They took full advantage of us not watching their kicker.

When we did have possession of the ball, we didn’t seem to have any forward momentum or structure when passing, and it was frustrating to watch.

But then we replied with tries from Kevin Sinfield and Danny McGuire. However a last-ditch try from Hull KR saw us 24-16 down at half-time.

I was hoping we’d come out cleaner in the second half, but Kris Welham ran the length untouched to put Hull KR further in front.

We really needed to find something to pull a result out of the bag.

After what seemed like forever, Kallum Watkins made a great play and scored.

The second half was an end-to-end slog, with both teams pushing each other. Rhinos finally found space and put Zak Hardaker over, and then McGuire scored the last try. Sinfield converted his sixth out of seven, putting us 40-30 up at the hooter.

Even though we got a win in the end it was hard to watch. We certainly have things to be working on.

It did appear we were missing co-ordination and some basics were lacking.

I’m reluctant to say we were missing new signings, even though on the coach on the way home it was said by some.

I think the team will certainly become more solid as the season goes on, but it’s always difficult after losing some big names.

Looking to tomorrow’s game against Widnes, I would want us to put on a stronger performance.

Working on defence, plugging the gaps, keeping an eye on the kicker and go for the home win.


It was a game of two halves, with Hull KR dominating the first half and the Rhinos the second.

When we scored first it looked like the game would follow a similar pattern to last year, but worryingly we still don’t appear to be able to defend our line against a clever kicking game, although I think the sun was a factor in their first try.

In a very good 10-minute spell the Robins built up what should have been a winning lead.

However, two of our golden decade players, Kevin Sinfield and Danny McGuire, decided otherwise.

I would have been happy with a two-point deficit at half-time but one of Hull KR’s new recruits Terry Campese extended their lead.

The second half started badly for us with Hull KR opening the scoring and the vociferous home fans must have thought that was it.

We know better! The Rhinos cut down on silly errors and saw a bit more of the ball and scored some cleverly worked tries to win.

On this showing Hull KR will win more games than they will lose as we will, hopefully. We need to tighten up the defence and reduce silly plays that lead to tries.

The eagerly-anticipated Bash Brothers reunion will now have to wait until the end of May.


Well Sunday certainly had the tension of a play-off game and thankfully we came away with a win, but it was by no means a great team performance.

A solid attacking game ensured that a terrible first-half defensive display didn’t prove costly, with Stevie Ward being the stand-out player for me.

So, on to our home opener against Widnes, which going by their performance on Thursday is going to prove another tough day at the office. For me, we need to start seeing Rob Burrow back into his natural position and allow him to take the game by the scruff of its neck because playing him at hooker is restricting the influence he has on games.

That being said, we will kick-off our home campaign with a 10-point victory.


It was a tough game against a resilient Hull KR. I was glad to get the two points, but much improvement is needed defensively.

There was some good attacking play on show and we kept the ball alive like the Rhinos of old. McGuire and Watkins were the pick of the bunch.


It was a good start to the season for Leeds Rhinos, played under a lovely blue sky and on a perfect pitch.

Leeds began well, in under two minutes scoring the game’s opening try after a good move.

Then Rovers began taking control, asking questions of Leeds’ defence, with Terry Campese causing problems with his kicking game. It was too easy for Campese and with Albert Kelly also playing a key role, Rovers were good value for their lead. Rovers were quick out of the traps in the second half scoring a 60-metre try. Then they lost their composure and structure and that’s down to good work from Leeds.

Rhinos began to dominate with great ball in hand at times and found a way to win. Rhinos will only get better as the season progresses, no worries!


Defences were on top for the first game at Craven Park, but it was great to get off to a winning start!

Coming back from 14 points down TWICE shows the amount of character this team has.

It was good to see Stevie Ward back on form after a few tough years with injuries.