Leeds Rhinos: YEP Jury give their verdicts

Kevin Sinfield.
Kevin Sinfield.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on the victory over Huddersfield and the home clash with Hull KR.

GRAHAM POULTER

The performance against Huddersfield was an overall very much improved display from the previous week’s shambles of a defensive effort in the defeat at Widnes.

We started this game by giving away again a couple of crazy penalties and I thought ‘oh no here we go again’, have we not learned anything from the defeat at Widnes?

We put them behind us and started to take a strong foothold in the game, provided from a strong dominant pack, which then allowed the creative players to do damage to Huddersfield.

They didn’t have any answers to the strong questions that we were posing them.

We certainly looked a lot fresher than we did at Widnes, more energy about us from one to 17. Everyone played their part in a magnificent victory and it was great to see the players play in their natural positions and above all it was great to see the return of our inspirational captain Kevin Sinfield.

We are a lot more composed with him in the team, we keep to our structure and the team is more balanced. We also need his fantastic ability to kick the goals, which, in tight games, is crucial and can be the difference between a win and a loss.

We have to keep him in the team, we may as well use him whilst he’s still here. He’s too pivotal to what we do to not have him in the team.

I’m confident that we have put the defeat at Widnes to bed, the signs were certainly encouraging in both attack and defence, apart from a couple of lapses of concentration towards the end of the game against Huddersfield.

I feel that we can go on a long unbeaten run now. We can become stronger which will only happen if we keep our discipline in all aspects and the players support each other and Brian McDermott plays the players in their natural positions.

They are far more effective when that happens as it shows in both the performances and results.

Yes, we will have our ups and downs, it’s how we respond that will determine how we finish the season.

On to the game against Hull KR tomorrow and I’m sure we can continue where we left off against Huddersfield. We must keep a tight rein on Terry Campese for us to win the game!

JAMIE SMITH

What a fantastic performance to kick off the defence of our Challenge Cup crown.

After Kallum Watkins ran the full length of the pitch to open the scoring, Huddersfield, who in recent times have been a thorn in our side, were effectively out of the tie by half-time as we proved too strong in every area and played like we had a point to prove.

We also finally saw Kevin Sinfield return to the starting line-up and his selection was fully justified as he showed that leadership quality we seemed to have lacked in recent weeks.

Don’t get me wrong, the future of the team is vitally important, but so is the present.

We’re still in the hunt for the treble and can’t sacrifice that. Although the whole squad were fantastic, Joel Moon and Zak Hardaker were the stand outs for me.

It’s time to focus on the league for a few weeks and first up, is Hull KR at home tomorrow.

After claiming a fantastic win of their own last weekend, the Robins will come to Headingley full of confidence and will be looking to avenge the opening day defeat we inflicted on them.

Despite this, I think we will build on our win last weekend and take the two league points with a comfortable 16-point victory.

CRAIG TARBOTTON

Last week every one of the Rhinos Jury wrote about Kevin Sinfield needing to be back in the team and coach Brian McDermott rightly called upon our captain for this Challenge Cup tie.

Ryan Hall was also back from injury and this meant Kallum Watkins would switch back to centre, where he bagged two early tries.

As we know it’s always tough against the Giants, they tried to slow us down at the ruck but kept conceding too many penalties and Leeds dominated possession.

Zak Hardaker showed his class once more as he mopped up the high kicks all day long. It was an almost perfect performance by Leeds who seem very keen on retaining the Cup we lifted last year after waiting so long.

ANNE BOSANQUET

What a great game against the Giants. We played like we wanted the win and had great moments of play.

Huddersfield just couldn’t seem to get into it at all.

Let’s hope we can carry this forward to the game tomorrow against Hull KR, who knocked Wigan out of the Cup last week.

JON WINTER

“Sir Kev” does it again! Many of the Jury last week were asking for his inclusion back into the team after the performances over the last few weeks and he didn’t disappoint on Saturday.

Leeds were well worth their win over Huddersfield, as they were dominant for most of the game.

The return of Ryan Hall on the wing cannot be underestimated as he made some typically big carries and scored two tries.

After an identical half-time score to the same fixture in the league a few weeks ago, I was fearing a Huddersfield comeback in the second period, but it never came. It did threaten for a while, but Hardaker came up with one of the best try-saving tackles you are likely to see.

DIANNE HALL

Everything that we did not do last week we did this week and it worked.

I wonder why? The body language looked better and it was obvious that we are not going to give up our trophy without a fight.

We need to keep it up tomorrow against Hull KR.

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