The Yorkshire Evening Post fans’ jury runs the rule over Leeds Rhinos’ Challenge Cup triumph over Featherstone Rovers and forecasts a step-up in intensity for the return to Super League against leaders Castleford Tigers.
As far as games go, last Friday was just about perfect, a very clinical win with no injuries and a few lads with a bit of rest.
It was also a first chance to seeing Ryan Hall in the centres and, I must admit, I was pretty impressed.
Ryan has good hands, he’s a big strong lad and his defence is solid. Whether this move was a one-off I don’t know. I suspect when Jimmy Keinhorst is back in the next couple of weeks he will slot into the centres, but if Ryan was moved there I wouldn’t be disappointed at all.
Stand-out for me Friday was once again Adam Cuthbertson, despite spending time at hooker when Matt Parcell went off with his head injury. Adam is definitely back to his best and a big reason why we are challenging again – keep it up Adam!
The semi-final draw pits us with a very tough physical Hull who, recently, we have had good form against – a game I can’t wait for!
I really hope we turn up and against our local neighbours who are getting rather too noisy for my liking !! Come on Leeds!
This is it Leeds fans, the season starts here.
Brian McDermott’s strength over his tenure has been getting his team together to perform at the business end of the season and that moment is upon us.
Castleford, St Helens, Salford, Wigan and Hull are Leeds’ next five opponents before we face Hull again in the semi-final of the Challenge Cup.
So, how does the coach go about setting up this exciting finalé?
Starting on Friday against Castleford, he needs to shore up the weaknesses the Tigers have exposed twice this season and learn how to cope with a team that moves the ball quickly and gets results from its wingers.
Easier said than done, but I hope that training this week has been focused on this and not much else!
We need to still be in the game before we can impose our own attacking plan.
Finally, I think it’s time we start to talk about Adam Cuthbertson as one of Leeds’ finest-ever imports.
For me, he is playing a different game to the rest.
How a prop, who has unbelievable impact as a prop, can fit into the hooking role like he did on Friday night, as if he’s played there his entire career, is testimony to this man’s enormous talent. He will be key to our success or otherwise this season.
The cup tie against Featherstone was exciting in that the visitors were quite prepared to try and take the game to Leeds and were not overawed by the occasion.
Castleford will be hurting following defeat to Hull, so Leeds will have to be wary of a backlash and dig deep.
The Challenge Cup always delivers a mixed batch of games.
Leeds stormed to a win against Featherstone to secure their place in the semis – a win made even better by a nil on the other side. They now have to up their game with a semi-final against last year’s Cup winners, Hull. What better way to prepare for such a game than to maintain good form in the intervening Super League games? The Rhinos have the chance to square up against Castleford. Having lost twice now this season to the Tigers the players will be keen to add a win to that list. Leeds go into the game the better-rested team, still in a high from the Cup quarter win..
As much of an edge as you get in Super League, so they should really make the most of it.
It was easy work for Leeds as they overcame a competitive Featherstone side to seal a spot in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup. The Rhinos will need to go up another few levels for the game with Castleford tomorrow if we are to stop them completing a treble of victories over us in 2017.
This week sees perhaps the most anticipated game at Headingley for several months, with the clash against league leaders Castleford.
A sizeable helping of spice has been added to the fixture with Leeds having something to prove after the gutless capitulation at Wheldon Road back in March, the return of a few old faces and Castleford’s treble-chasing dreams ending in tatters at Hull last Sunday.
Hopefully, Brian McDermott watched the game, took notes and saw how Castleford looked less than invincible on the day.
Leeds also go into the fixture with the advantage of two extra days’ rest and having had the exertion of little more than a heavy training session needed to beat Featherstone.
There can be few available excuses for failure.