Leeds Rhinos: YEP Jury give their verdicts

Ash Handley.
Ash Handley.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on the Magic Weekend in Newcastle and the trip to Wakefield on Sunday.


Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the Magic Weekend in Newcastle as I was travelling back from a rugby trip to the south of France.

There was plenty of talk about the Leeds v Wigan game and there’s one thing myself and fellow Leeds fans agreed on was that we all hate losing to Wigan! I caught up with the game on TV and was hoping we would end our Magic Weekend losing streak to Wigan, but it wasn’t to be.

As much as it pains me to say it, the best team won on the day. Danny McGuire looked lively early on and after falling behind we went into a 12-4 lead. Zak Hardaker looked impressive once more but Wigan came back to score 23 unanswered points.

Shaun Wane got his tactics spot on and Wigan’s trio of Mickey McIllorum, Matty Bowen and George Williams were allowed too much room to do as they please. Wigan’s plan was to target Ash Handley and it worked.

Handley has been fantastic so far this year filling in for the injured Tom Briscoe, he’s a great talent with a bright future, but on Saturday he had an off day and took some unfair criticism on social media from some Rhinos fans.

Us Leeds fans have been spoilt over the past decade, we’ve picked up many trophies and we expect to win every game; of course this doesn’t happen and when we get beaten too many fans get on the players backs too quickly.

I was upset and angry at what I read from some fans about Handley, these were the same fans who were talking about those five tries against Wakefield on Boxing Day and ‘That’ tackle on Justin Carney away at Castleford. Yes, it’s hard when we lose but we have to get behind the boys no matter what, as Jamie Peacock tweeted: ‘We win together, we lose together’.

On Sunday we travel to our neighbours Wakefield who suffered another defeat against Castleford.

I don’t think this game will be as easy as some may think.

Wakefield have nothing to lose and will up their game even more against Leeds.

I’m sure the Rhinos players won’t take Wakefield lightly and will be keen to get back to winning ways after the setback at St James’ Park.

I predict a Leeds win by 20 points.


It’s three losses in a row now at the Magic Weekend for Leeds and more alarmingly, our lead at the top of the table is down to one point.

After a promising start and taking an eight-point lead I was confident we would go on to win the game. However, the second half was disappointing, not scoring a point and blowing quite a few chances when Wigan’s defensive line was broken.

Our last tackle option became non-existent and at one point we were tackled in our own 40m on the last tackle.

Zak Hardaker was our best player by a country mile, I hope his injury isn’t going to keep him out of the side. His form is that good, Steve McNamara is going to need a good excuse to keep him out of the England side come the end of the season.

On paper we now have a couple of “easier” fixtures starting with Wakefield away then Castleford at home. I hope the team doesn’t take the same mentality that they did when they travelled away to the league’s bottom side last season.

We all know what happened there!

Although Wakefield were well beaten against Castleford, they now have a new coach and will want to impress.

Not that they need motivation to lift themselves for their annual cup final at Belle Vue.


Well there was nothing magical about our performance against Wigan in Newcastle. I was left very disappointed.

We led 12-4 in the first half, with Adam Cuthberston scoring a cracking try round the posts. I thought Zak Hardaker had a great game and was my stand-out player.

The second half we lost the plot. Defensively we were shaken and started panic playing.

We left far too many gaps and Wigan took full advantage. We made silly errors throughout, giving away easy penalties.

We remain narrowly at the top and need to pull our socks up for a better performance this week.

We now face Wakefield away. It’s sure to be a good one to watch.


Another successful Magic Weekend for Super League, but a poor performance from the Rhinos. We looked lost in attack and vulnerable in defence.

Next up, an away derby at lowly Wakefield Wildcats on Sunday and I can only see one outcome, a big Rhinos win.


Leeds lacked the magic ingredient ‘BRAINS’ against Wigan on Saturday, the ingredient that’s not required is giving away dumb penalty after dumb penalty, time after time.

At times Leeds are their own worst enemies, and they always will be if they keep on repeating the same errors.

The players keep on saying week after week, ‘oh we will have to fix it up’, we’ll start doing it on the pitch instead of cheap words in the press.

We lost the plot big time against Wigan, by needless offloads, panicking, no composure whatsoever, talk about make it easy for Wigan – we were too soft in defence again.

We should surely be able to beat Wakefield at Belle Vue, Sunday!


What a disappointing result and performance from the Rhinos.

We started quite well, but it was Wigan’s day.

It won’t be easy at Wakefield on Sunday because they always raise their game against Rhinos, but we should get back to winning ways.