YEP Jury: Leeds Rhinos’ wonderful Challenge Cup final win was a very welcome distraction from the Super League scrap

Leeds Rhinos celebrate their Coral Women's Challenge Cup final win over Castleford Tigers. PIC: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
Leeds Rhinos celebrate their Coral Women's Challenge Cup final win over Castleford Tigers. PIC: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
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Last weekend’s Women’s Challenge Cup final triumph for Leeds Rhinos over Castleford Tigers proved a very welcome distraction for many of the Headingley club’s fans.

And the Yorkshire Evening Post jury members were no exception. Each delighted in Rhinos’ cup triumph and suggested the passion and commitment shown by the women’s team was more than a match for the men’s first team ...

Huddersfield Giants Jermaine McGillvary will provide a significant threat against Leeds Rhinos on Friday. PIC: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

Huddersfield Giants Jermaine McGillvary will provide a significant threat against Leeds Rhinos on Friday. PIC: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

The kind of attitude required to win last weekend’s final is the kind of approach Leeds Rhinos will need, they reckon, against Huddersfield Giants on Friday night – and for the remainder of the 2019 Super League campaign.

Here’s what our jury has to say; see if you agree.

Andrew Sutcliffe

A weekend off for the men meant attention was on the ladies and their Challenge Cup final against Castleford.

The curtain raiser to the men’s semi-finals was a fitting way to show how far the women’s game has come in recent years and was a terrific spectacle. Passion and commitment was shown from the Leeds team – which a few of the men could take an example from.

The unbeaten and, in my view, arrogant Castleford players came up against the determined holders and a team giving everything for each other. Leeds held out for a deserved win and retention of the trophy. Congratulations ladies and coach Adam Cuthbertson for giving Leeds fans something to celebrate.

On to Friday and another relegation four pointer. Has the two weeks off done us good or not? We need a strong, fast start similar to the game at Headingley and kill the game off. We don’t want to get sucked into an arm wrestle with them and the infuriating cowbell army.

Let’s go there, play to our strengths and get away from trouble.

Thomas Lawrence

It is crazy to think that by the end of play on Sunday we could be in eighth place and still in a massive relegation battle – this is should we defeat Huddersfield by eight points or more.

It’s safe to say Friday night’s clash with Huddersfield is a massive game for us! It would be nice to drag Huddersfield into the mix and keep another team worrying about the drop but, ultimately, we just really need the points and, furthermore, our Super League status for 2020 confirmed as soon as possible.

With the exception of the Hull KR game, our performances have been improving vastly lately and that level will need to be maintained at Huddersfield on Friday against a team who have a nice blend of youth and experience and a positive mentality following their victory at Hull KR – they still haven’t given up on the play-offs! Nonetheless, six big games to go and this is the first of them!

Finally this week, congratulations to our women’s team on retaining the Challenge Cup – a great achievement and one that Adam Cuthbertson and his squad deserve much recognition for.

Tim Nuttall

I must start my jury piece this week by congratulating Adam Cuthbertson, his staff and the Leeds Rhinos ladies team on a fantastic performance in beating Cas Tigers on Saturday in the Women’s Challenge Cup final.

The ladies took their chances when they got them and defended brilliantly as a team to hang on against a very good team.

The scenes at the end were brilliant and I hope the women enjoyed their celebrations.

It would be nice if that feel-good factor can transmit across to the men’s team as we face one of our biggest games of the Super League era, in my opinion.

On Friday we are going to need to type of performance we put in against Cas; defend as a unit, ensure we don’t give away cheap yardage through penalties, complete our sets and build pressure.

Our middle unit will have to be far better than they have been in the last two games.

We know Huddersfield will be strong through the middle and we have to match that at the very least.

Let’s get behind the lads on Friday and hope they get the job done.

Katie Burrows

I’d like to start this week by saying a huge congratulations to Leeds Rhinos Women, who retained the Challenge Cup with a 16-10 win over Castleford Tigers.

I’ve been really impressed by what I’ve seen from the women’s game this year and I think it’s fantastic how much coverage that side of the sport is getting.

I was equally impressed with how Halifax approached their Challenge Cup semi-final against St Helens; I thought they showed real determination and their team effort was very inspiring. Scott Murrell did a brilliant job of leading the team and I think Halifax were better than the final score suggests.

Back to focusing on ourselves, we travel to Huddersfield on Friday night for another must-win game. We really do need to start picking up wins against the teams that are down at the bottom with us, as I can’t see us getting anything from the St Helens and Warrington games.

Hopefully we will play like we did at Castleford at the beginning of July and the boys can bring me a birthday win!

Luke Crossfield

It was disappointing to see us lose against Hull FC after working hard to get back into the lead in the second half.

That said, I did think Hull were the better team over the course of the game.

The big positive was that we showed a lot of fight in the second half. Normally when that has happened recently, we have crumbled. Rhyse Martin’s goal kicking was superb.

Going to Huddersfield is always a tough fixture and, as long as we come home with the two points, then I will take it.

We have got ourselves into this position of a relegation battle and we need to grind our way out.

Jermaine McGillvary is always a threat on the wing and they have some promising young players. With six games left we need to get the two points.

We were treated to some brilliant rugby from the women’s team in their Challenge Cup final victory.

The three tries we scored had lots of creativity and our defence was unreal. Congratulations to the girls; their attitude was superb and they fully deserved their victory.