Our YEP Jury have their say on the victory over Hull KR and Saturday’s trip to London Broncos
The game last Friday against Hull KR was not a classic by any stretch of the imagination. Both teams seemed to be over anxious, neither wanting to lose valuable points in what could be a quite competitive competition.
Rovers were obviously playing to a defence-oriented game plan, and ably assisted by some philanthropic refereeing decisions courtesy of Phil Bentham, largely achieved their aim.
The Rhinos seemed willing to be drawn into one-out football again and it was rare that the fluidity of the previous game against Featherstone was to be seen.
Thankfully, a fine defensive effort, particularly in the second half when a succession of penalties kept the Rhinos camped on their own line, enabled them to keep their noses in front for two well deserved points.
If this game had taken place a couple of months ago, I am sure we would have probably conceded points and no doubt lost the match.
The class of hooker “Chicko” Segeyaro was once again a pleasure to see, his enthusiasm and keenness on the field highlights one of our major failures this season; the lack of a reliable No 9, has been quite apparent and has cost us heavily. Keeping him for the next few seasons must be a major priority no matter the cost!
Another highlight was the form of Liam Sutcliffe and how well he is developing into a reliable full-back. His one-on-one tackling prevented a certain try and goal kicking again the difference between the two sides.
I hate to highlight match officials, but unfortunately Mr Bentham had probably one of his worst games for some time, a penalty count of 5-12 was totally disproportionate and was not a true reflection of the game that the over 14,000 in attendance witnessed.
Saturday sees us travelling to the capital alas not to Wembley this time, but to the Trailfinder Stadium to take on the London Broncos.
No doubt it will be a very competitive first half but I am sure that class and fitness will tell and the Rhinos should maintain their 100 per cent record in the Qualifiers.
Last week’s game was a lot of what I expected to be honest – mistakes by both sides, plenty of exchanging points and a Leeds win at the end of the night.
I thought, at times, we echoed some of the play that saw us finish where we did in the league this year, but it was refreshing that we were able to hold on for the win in a game we would have certainly lost four or five months ago.
We’ve clearly been practicing that run of play which sent Kalum Watkins in at the corner for our first try and it’s producing some great results at the moment.
Although that is two weeks in a row I’ve backed Watkins for the first try and not put any money on it – I’ll never learn!
There were a couple of lapses in defence but we held them out for large parts of the game and that’s something to be proud of.
In terms of overall performance against Hull KR, I thought James Segeyaro was outstanding and I am keeping everything crossed that he decides to stay at Leeds for the 2017 campaign.
If the South Stand didn’t convince him on Friday, I don’t know what will!
We travel to London this weekend in what should hopefully be another win to consolidate our place at the top of the Qualifiers.
A scrappy affair at Headingley with too many unforced errors from both teams; but Leeds finally inflicted the first ever defeat for Hull KR in the qualifiers as the Rhinos climbed to the top of the pile. Maybe the nervousness highlights just how much is at stake.
One positive is the individual performance from hooker James ‘Chicko’ Segeyaro. Chicko has brought an inventiveness that has just been missing to the Leeds team and was certainly the one to pull the Rhinos across the finish line on Friday. This weekend sees a long journey to London Broncos where hopefully the fluid and free flowing Leeds game will return and they should collect another two points against a team that are riding high after a huge win last week.
Last Friday night Leeds defended admirably to hold on to the top spot in the Qualifiers. The game was bereft of quality and skill (including the match officials!) and in truth the Rhinos were lucky to grind out a win. This Saturday Leeds play London and I can only foresee a comprehensive Rhinos victory.
Two down five to go.
I found last week’s game really flat even though it ebbed and flowed between the two teams with the penalty count heavily favouring Hull KR with some really bizarre decisions from Phil Bentham, who did not have the best of games in the middle. James Segeyaro had a brilliant second half and was the difference between the two teams.
Now on to this week and my favourite game of the middle-eights, a trip down to London Broncos. They did give Batley a really good hiding last Sunday and I reckon they will be much harder to break down with them being a full-time outfit.
With Jamie Soward in their ranks they could prove to be very difficult opponents.
Well, it’s two from two in the Qualifiers as Leeds came out on top in what I thought was a poor game against Hull KR. I fully expect Leeds will make this three from three in London this weekend and keep the winning run going. It’d be nice to see Stevie Ward back playing too!