Leeds Rhinos: YEP Jury give their verdict on Rhinos v Widnes

Tom Briscoe on the run against Widnes.
Tom Briscoe on the run against Widnes.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds Rhinos’ 38-6 victory over Widnes

DIANE HALL

Well for the first 60 minutes I was wondering how I would manage to write 300-plus words on our first home game of the season.

Widnes seemed hell bent on slowing all the play the balls down to five minutes each, though credit to the Rhinos; they did not get sucked into playing the same way.

The highlight of an error-strewn first half was Zak Hardaker’s try from an excellent break by Tom Briscoe (my man of the match).

Widnes hit back almost immediately and thoughts went back to the poor defensive effort at Craven Park last week.

These thoughts eventually proved unfounded as Widnes never troubled the scoreboard again.

Our defence was much better than in round one and to keep another Super League team to one score is a tremendous effort.

Apart from the Hardaker try, the first half was a good old-fashioned arm wrestle, with our attack being relatively easily contained by some determined scrambling defence from the Vikings.

The second half got off to a decent start as we extended our lead to eight points early in the third quarter.

The game then reverted to the standard set in the first half, until we slipped into attacking mode and scored a further four tries, all converted by Sir Kev, to seal the victory.

We must have done plenty of work on our defence leading up to this game as it was a lot better than last week, although the attack was a bit stuttering until the final 15 or so minutes.

I think that we need to sharpen up how we start games.

If we start as slowly as we did in this game we will be left stranded by more ruthless opposition. That said there were plenty of positives to take from the game.

The continued form of Stevie Ward, the pack working hard and the backs lighting up the matches with some well-worked scores.

If and when they put all of the pieces together I am sure that we will be in a good position to continue our assault on the Super League title.

The two-week break should serve the team well to prepare for our bogey team of the past couple of seasons the Huddersfield Giants when they visit Headingley.

GRAHAM POULTER

Leeds Rhinos found it hard going in the first half, Widnes putting up some stiff resistance with a scrambling defence that Leeds struggled to find a way to unlock.

Widnes also made it hard work for Leeds with their constant slowing down at the play the ball, which they’re fully entitled to do, I suppose.

Leeds have more than enough quality in their team to deal with that situation though.

But Leeds don’t look so good when they’re trudging upfield with up-the-middle-rugby. They have far too much quality in the team to be resorting to that out-of-date tactic.

I, for one, hope that Brian McDermott takes it out of our play.

We look a far better team when we play an expansive game, which goes to show with the quality of the tries that we have been scoring in our opening two games.

At times we overplay. Surely we have the knowledge as to when and when not to do it.

Our defence was much improved, so, hopefully, the squad can work on that through this week since we’re without a game owing to the World Club Challenge.

I’m confident in how we’re approaching things with our style. The best is yet to come, so fans don’t panic, we and the team have to be patient and the openings will come.

We have far too much quality not to succeed!

CRAIG TARBOTTON

It was certainly a game of two halves at Headingley on a typically rainy Friday night.

The first half was one to forget, nothing much happened. Zak Hardaker, who had a solid game, opened the scoring before Widnes levelled shortly after and that was about it. The second half had more excitement as Leeds once more put 38 points past Widnes after finishing strongly in the final quarter.

A much-improved defensive display from the Rhinos compared to the previous week, but they seemed to lack that cutting edge in attack until the final 13 minutes when they ran in four tries.

Tom Briscoe looked lively and got a nice try. He seems like he has a point to prove after some undeserved grief from the Leeds faithful last year.

JON WINTER

Another two points for the Rhinos after a scrappy first half, and dropping Rob Burrow was a big call!

We now have two weeks to prepare for winless Huddersfield. They have been our bogey side in recent years and we will have to improve to take the two points.

JAMIE SMITH

Well that was certainly a game of two halves. Widnes frustrated us in the first half before the class of our backs turned the game on its head.

If we continue to play like we did in the second half throughout the season then we’re going to be tough to beat.

So, we have a week off due to the World Club Challenge fixtures, before we’re back into action a week on Thursday against Huddersfield Giants.

After losing their opening two games, Huddersfield will be out to make it third time lucky, whilst we will look to maintain our unbeaten start.

We’ve got arguably the best back line in the world and we should be using that to our advantage.

Doing so a week on Thursday should see us come away with a comfortable victory.

ANNE BOSANQUET

We were slow at making the yards and forward momentum in first half. We made errors which made the game tougher than needed.

My stand-outs were Adam Cuthbertson and Stevie Ward; they grafted hard. Looking to the Huddersfield game, we need to be quicker and slicker.

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