Our YEP Jury look back at Leeds Rhinos derby-day defeat at Wakefield Trinity.
Beating Wigan in the fashion we did would mean nothing if we failed to beat struggling Wakefield Trinity last Thursday and, as has been the case far too often in 2017, Leeds Rhinos failed to back up a good performance with another strong outing.
There were no signs of the high-intensity, free-flowing rugby that was enjoyed so much the previous week making an appearance at Belle Vue, and to make matters worse the Rhinos were far too open defensively which Trinity made the most of as they romped to a deserved win.
This kind of inconsistency is why I can’t entertain any suggestions that Leeds Rhinos could end the year with victory at Old Trafford in the Grand Final.
Being thoroughly beaten by a team who had lost six of their seven games since our last meeting with them is far from a characteristic of a potential champion team.
Who knows how we’ll play against St Helens at Headingley tomorrow, I just hope we give the South Stand the send-off it deserves.
It’s a strange old game is rugby league. From the previous week’s hammering of Wigan I fully expected us to turn up to Wakefield full of confidence, put on a good display and come away with the points.
Oh how I was wrong! We were poor all over the park, looked out of ideas in attack and defensively weak with Wakefield dominating us down the middle, but the worst thing for me was our indiscipline.
We gave away so much territory and ball with silly, needless penalties it was painful to watch. This week must see a massive improvement if we are to see the old South Stand off with a win.
Which Leeds will turn up? Your guess is as good as mine!
I received a message from a friend the morning after the abomination that was the Wakefield Trinity game that read: “Last night was one of the worst performances I have ever seen.”
Now he’s much older than me and has seen a decade or more rugby than I have so I’m willing to go with his point of view on this one.
My reply to him was: “What gets me is, in the last four weeks the coach has no idea where the performances, good or bad, have come from!”
And therein lies the problem.
Head coach Brian McDermott thought we’d get beaten by less against Wigan Warriors, he didn’t know where the dreadful Challenge Cup semi-final performance came from against Hull FC, he left the players to it before the Wigan match and they got a result, and he was speechless as to why his charges performed so badly last Thursday against Wakefield Trinity at Belle Vue.
So if the coach is clueless and having no influence over results then how am I, as a fan, able to predict the result of tomorrow’s game?
I had hoped to see Leeds Rhinos build on their first win of the Super-8s but it was not to be.
One try to Wakefield’s six reflected how the game panned out, with the Rhinos being dominated throughout the whole 80 minutes.
It was a nightmare from start to finish for the squad, with only a brief break from a 10th minute try courtesy of Adam Cuthbertson.
At this stage of the season I would hope to see more from the Rhinos.
Leeds often play in a rollercoaster style, big losses after big wins.
This week we’re once again facing a dogged St Helens side. Their last game was a narrow defeat to Hull, something they won’t want to repeat against Leeds.
As we draw closer to the end of the season, each game becomes yet more crucial.
Two points this week could be the difference for Saints making the top-four.
Leeds will have to keep tight hold of their second place position if they want to secure the all-important home advantage in the play-offs.
One word probably describes Leeds Rhinos’ performance last week against Wakefield Trinity and that is: shambolic.
A passionless, disinterested, unenthusiastic display gave a resurgent Wakefield Trinity a well-deserved win.
Let down by senior players on the night, there was never a plan B.
The writing was on the wall after 20 minutes.
It was obvious that change was needed, unfortunately, nothing was forthcoming from the sidelines. Rob Burrow was not introduced until well into the second half, whilst once again we had a substitute keeping the bench warm for 80 minutes.
One worrying aspect of the game was the manner of the defeat at Belle Vue, once again the Rhinos seemed to ‘throw in the towel’ and sit back, seemingly accepting the inevitable.
Over the season, Leeds have lost 10 games in all, by an average score of 32-15, which is quite unacceptable.
What has happened to pride? A dramatic change of attitude from players and coaching staff is required to save the season.
Brian McDermott told everyone that he ‘let the lads sort it themselves’ before the victory over Wigan Warriors, so his hands must have been firmly back at the controls for yet another away-day implosion at Wakefield, in a season where the only consistency has been the inconsistency. Perhaps if the players responded so well to not being coached, then may I cordially suggest perhaps a more permanent arrangement?
Chuck in some inane media comments like: “It has been a while since we shipped that many points” … a mere 12 days since the abject Challenge Cup semi-final surrender against Hull FC at Doncaster and you can understand why the excuses are wearing thin with the faithful.
A possible replacement?
You could do a lot worse than Bradford’s Geoff Toovey, a coach with a recent pedigree of taking teams to NRL Grand Finals and who should be coaching far higher than League One. Finally, congratulations to Jimmy Keinhorst, the latest lucky winner in the ‘Brian’s Benchwarmer’ contest for unused substitutes.