Leeds Rhinos: YEP Jury give their verdicts

Mitch Garbutt.
Mitch Garbutt.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on the victory over Wigan and the clash at Hull FC tomorrow.


A fast start, thanks to a Danny McGuire try in the opening couple of minutes, set the tone for the night and despite Wigan staging a mini fightback in the final 10 minutes of the game last Friday, the damage had been done by half-time as we came away with a victory that not only increased our lead at the top of Super League to four points, but leaves us within touching distance of guaranteeing ourselves a top-four finish.

Victories against Wigan are always sweet, but this one was made even sweeter due to St Helens surrendering their half-time lead against Hull FC, which resulted in them falling five points behind us in third place.

There were some great performances on the night from Kevin Sinfield and Joel Moon to name a few, but Mitch Garbutt’s performance really impressed me as he ran hard all night and was solid in defence.

Despite only playing in his sixth game for the Rhinos, he’s fitted in well and is proving to be a great addition to Brian McDermott’s squad.

Another trip to East Yorkshire awaits us tomorrow night as we head to the KC Stadium for the third time this season, to take on seventh-placed Hull FC.

Some people may not agree with this, but with us having a four-point cushion at the top of the table, I would personally like to see us rest a couple of players ahead of next week’s Challenge Cup final, giving the rest of the squad some valuable game time as the race for the Grand Final heats up.

We have a talented squad who are more than capable of getting the job done and having some game time under their belts is only going to benefit the team down the line. The atmosphere at the KC Stadium can be hostile at the best of times, but with Hull still having their own top-four aspirations, I fully expect their fans to be even louder to help spur their team on.

But come full time those hopes will be dashed as we’ll claim our fourth win against the Airlie Birds this season and the team along with the travelling Rhinos faithful will head back to West Yorkshire with two valuable league points and we can all look forward to our trip to Wembley Stadium.


It was another tough encounter against Wigan that we’ve come to expect on a wet Friday night at Headingley.

After our performance against Warrington the week before I was fairly confident coming into this game that we would pick up the two points.

Wigan were in our faces early on seemingly trying to intimidate our pack, but we gave it straight back and took the game to Wigan, especially our backs who have been outstanding this year and we are capable of scoring from anywhere on the pitch. The pace from Kallum Watkins and Zak Hardaker, the mazy runs from Tom Briscoe and Joel Moon and the sheer presence and power from Ryan Hall have proven too much for the opposition to handle.

Mitch Garbutt once again showed us that’s he’s got what it takes to match the big boys in Super League.

Kevin Sinfield is in fine form and will be a huge loss when he leaves at the end of the season. Adam Cuthbertson has been the signing of the season and started the game at hooker, is there nothing this man can’t do?

Leeds defended well against Wigan who I’m tipping to be our Grand Final opponents this year, even though we switched off late on which allowed Wigan to bag a couple of easy tries. Hull next, we should beat them even though we will have one eye on Wembley!


A four-point lead (effectively five with our points difference) over Wigan with five games still to go is a great position to be in.

The conditions on Friday didn’t make for a great spectacle of rugby, but Leeds did what they needed to do against the usual Wigan spoiling tactics. Kevin Sinfield seemed to take the No 9 spot for most of the game, and it worked well, but whether he does for the rest of the season remains to be seen.

Mitch Garbutt seems to be getting better week by week. He’s a no-nonsense player and makes good yards.

There’s a dilemma for Brian McDermott this week ahead of the game against Hull, rest players for the cup final or go full strength and try to extend our lead at the top?


THAT GAME was how I predicted it would turn out last week, laying on tactics etc from Wigan.

We were solid in all departments apart from the last 20 minutes when we were charitable with dumb penalties. Players will be rested at Hull before Wembley final!


The game against Wigan Warriors was certainly a tough fought one. The game was littered with penalties and the odd bout of fisticuffs, all the drama you’d expect from these two sides.

Leeds had the better night. We worked and dealt with the relentless pressure from Wigan.

However the Warriors didn’t get a clean break which showed how strong Leeds were defensively.

Danny McGuire scored a great first try from his quick thinking. Zak Hardaker scored a cheeky drop goal. For me Kevin Sinfield deserved to be man of the match, he was outstanding throughout. We finished the game still at top of the table, clear by four points.

The tail end of this season is certainly shaping up well.


A win is a win and with ten minutes left on Friday night we had built what I thought was a winning lead, but then let Wigan in to make it closer.

The team travel to play Hull FC tomorrow, which could be a difficult one after their win at Saints and the week before Wembley.