Leeds Rhinos: YEP jury predictions

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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds Rhinos victory over Huddersfield and the task ahead at Wigan.

KATIE BURROWS

Beau Falloon.

Beau Falloon.

It might not have been a great game to watch, or even a solid Rhinos performance, but I’m glad I can sit here and say we are no longer bottom of the Super League table!

Having said this, there is certainly much room for improvement and a lot of work to be done. I think at times we are trying so hard to be as dynamic and impressive as we were last year we can’t seem to string enough passes together to form a decent attack.

We made far too many unforced errors last Friday, particularly in our own half, and our defence just wasn’t there at pivotal moments. Fortunately, Huddersfield seemed to have similar problems and we managed to come out on top.

In his post-match press conference, Brian McDermott commented that it’s too early in the season to say ‘a win’s a win’, and while I agree that we need to play much better than we did, I feel that Friday’s result was much needed, especially as we face Wigan on their own turf this Friday – another difficult challenge.

The Warriors are playing well and have put in some gutsy displays recently, they’ll be aiming to keep their unbeaten record going strong. After last-gasp wins against Salford and Hull respectively, I’m sure they’ll want to put in a more convincing performance, especially against one of their biggest rivals.

It’s looking likely that both Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Beau Falloon will feature this week which will certainly make a difference but, as much as I hate to say it, and with the injury list mounting, I don’t think it will be enough to see us come up with a win. Now missing Ash Handley and Joel Moon, two key attacking players, it’s hard to see where the tries are going to come from.

It’s the first time we’ve faced each other since the Grand Final and tensions are sure to run high as they always do. Wigan will be looking for some kind of payback for losing out on a trophy last year, we’ll need to start very quickly to be in with a shout. They’ll be up for it, and we better be too – I don’t think I could bear it if they hammered us!

ELIZABETH HAWKHEAD

Leeds finally ‘ground’ out their first win of the season – a victory that hopefully will inspire them and motive them onwards.

It was a scrappy game with far too many handling errors and ill discipline from both sides. There is much for the Rhinos to work on in the coming week on the training pitches, before facing Wigan away tomorrow.

The Rhinos started well with an intense first 10 minutes but once again we could not turn possession and field position into points. Leeds lacked leadership and drive for the remainder of the first half with Huddersfield always looking the most likely to score. We seemed intent on using the forwards to simply drive down the centre of the pitch which made it easy for the Giants to defend.

It was not until Jimmy Keinhorst came off the bench for the second half, and along with Josh Walters that Leeds started to create opportunities and start to pass the ball out to the wings. Kallum Watkins just did not get enough of the ball to show his flair and, for me, Keinhorst, Burrow, Lilley and Cuthbertson were perhaps the only players to show the passion we have come to expect at Headingley.

With so many injuries, Leeds will have their backs against the wall at Wigan, and will need to deep dig to keep their reputation intact.

LUKE CROSSFIELD

Finally we got our first win of the season. Jordan Lilley had his goal kicking boots on and was the only player that tried to lead the rest of the team. I thought Brad Singleton had a great game too and is really deserving his extra game-time this year.

On to tomorrow night at Wigan Warriors who have not convinced me yet so far.

They have managed to win tight games like last week at Hull FC.

If it is raining then we will have to watch out for Wigan’s Matty Smith. We always seem to get sucked into a forwards battle when we play against Wigan.

It will be very tough to get the win at the DW Stadium tomorrow, but it will be great to see some of the lads back from injury.

ANDREW RICHARDSON

Last week Leeds were lucky to come away with two points on the back of a poor performance. Our forwards had no go-forward and subsequently our attack suffered. Wigan haven’t played well this year and will be a good test for Leeds. Optimistically, I’ll predict a Leeds win by eight.

THOMAS LAWRENCE

For me, Leeds were very much second best against Huddersfield last Friday. However, to be inferior when low on confidence and still grind out a fair victory can only be seen as a huge positive – particularly ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Wigan for the Grand Final rematch.

Why Jordan Lilley played hooker and Rob Burrow played in the halves I cannot understand. Yet despite the denial from Brian McDermott, I believe that Lilley’s switch back into the halves was the catalyst to scraping the victory which came with a cost – losing two more players to injury – which makes the trip to Wigan even trickier. Nonetheless, Mitch Garbutt and potentially Jamie Jones-Buchanan will be welcomed back with open arms. See you all at the DW!

ANDREW SUTCLIFFE

At last a win to celebrate. Not the best performance but we’ll take the two points. It was tainted though by more injuries – when will it end?

Wigan Warriors away tomorrow will be tough but they are beatable.

Hopefully the return of some troops will help.

Tom Briscoe.

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