YEP Jury Verdict: Leeds Rhinos need to discover a ruthless streak – before it’s too late

Carl Ablett was added to Leeds Rhinos' injury roster against Hull KR. PIC: James Hardisty
Carl Ablett was added to Leeds Rhinos' injury roster against Hull KR. PIC: James Hardisty
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Leeds Rhinos’ Yorkshire Evening Post jurors are worried after last weekend’s defeat to Hull KR in the middle-eights and the prospect of Sunday’s fixture at Widnes Vikings fast-developing a must-win scenario.

Here are their thoughts:

Fans feel Leeds Rhinos' director of rugby, Kevin Sinfield, has his work cut out for him this season. PIC: Tony Johnson.

Fans feel Leeds Rhinos' director of rugby, Kevin Sinfield, has his work cut out for him this season. PIC: Tony Johnson.

Adam Anderson

The first time we played a Super League side in the middle-eights it ended in a disappointing defeat.

We shouldn’t have lost the lead that we had against them, but we never looked confident in the game and Hull KR exploited that.

Huge, gaping holes were run through and tackles were missed throughout.

Carl Ablett receives treatment as Stevie Ward, left, looks on. PIC: James Hardisty

Carl Ablett receives treatment as Stevie Ward, left, looks on. PIC: James Hardisty

We are in a position now where we can’t be losing leads like that.

If we play like that against others, we could be facing a million-pound-game predicament. I honestly hope not.

Another injury concern this week with Carl Ablett hobbling off; it looks as though it’s his season ended and could be career defining.

I would hate for anyone to go out that way.

We need to get our act together against Widnes, a place from which we always somehow struggle to come home with the points.

They are without a win and, in my opinion, one game away from relegation.

But they won’t be an easy turnover.

Matt Fowler

Simply not good enough. You can sugarcoat the performance and look for positives but the fact is: this team is fragile.

The slightest adversity or pressure and it crumbles. The winning try epitomised that. Gary Hetherington’s “gamble”, as he put it when sacking Brian McDermott so deep into the season, has backfired. It simply hasn’t worked. The performances on the field since Brian left have, if anything, got worse.

The defensive effort is certainly not there.

This week we have Widnes who are in a faster freefall than us, which is an impressive effort, considering ...

The team needs to find something from somewhere. The majority are serial medal winners and their ability to win should not be in question but here we are.

We need to find some mental fortitude. We are in a fight for our Super League status. A pretty shocking thing to write down to be honest.

I believe we will survive but not at the canter I predicted previously. Maybe the players thought the same. Hopefully the Hull KR defeat will focus the mind. It’s win at all costs now.

Graham Poulter

It started so well for Leeds, then the old bad habits reared their ugly heads yet again especially in the second half, when the so-called defence crumbled like a pack of cards.

The Leeds defence is an absolute shambles and it has more holes in it than a tea bag and is as much use as a chocolate fireguard.

I’ve being saying for most of the season just how shocking the defence is.

In fact, there is no case for the defence at all.

The whole team are an embarrassment to themselves and the shirt that they wear and the club that they represent.

A school team defends better than this bunch of mugs.

And the attacking side of our game is offering nothing or giving the opposition anything to worry about.

And Richie Myler is not up to the job, as I’ve said many times before.

If we lose in our next game at Widnes Vikings on Sunday it will just tell us nothing more than we already know about this Leeds Rhinos team.

Wiidnes have nothing to lose; Leeds Rhinos have everything to lose!

Ian Sharp

Yet again we managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, with an ineptness in game management and defence in the last 17 minutes of last week’s game in the middle-eights against Hull KR.

Not to sound like ‘Stevo’ [former Sky pundit Mike Stephenson] but why the hell don’t we try for a drop goal?

We were 12 points up with 17 left to play, had two perfect opportunities to go for a one-pointer, and all we did was run it out on the last, no kick, no pressure, not even a goal-line drop-out.

It’s just not good enough, and some of the players are an embarrassment to the shirt.

Maybe Kevin Sinfield should show them the women’s cup final so they can see how to tackle and the pride the girls have in playing in the Blue and Amber.

Like many last week I renewed my season ticket, which was more expensive than the last three years.

It looks like the loyal fans will be paying towards the half-empty stadium, if we don’t get our fingers out.

Widnes this week and we know how well we play there! Worrying times.

Christine Kidd

I don’t envy Kevin Sinfield his job at the moment. I’m sure he didn’t imagine his return to Leeds Rhinos as a ex-player beginning like this.

Hopefully, most people won’t judge him on what happens this season.

It’s not often that a team scores 36 points in a game and ends up on the losing side. This happened against Hull KR last Saturday because the Rhinos are still not firing on all cylinders.

There are times in the game when defence and attack look good but there are still times when they look bereft of ideas in attack and lack steel in defence.

All the ex-Leeds Rhinos players at Hull KR played well, especially Danny McGuire and Chris Clarkson.

Two points at Widnes on Sunday are now essential if Rhinos are to avoid the million pound game. The Halton Stadium has not been a good hunting ground for the Rhinos, although we did manage to win a Challenge Cup tie there in May.

Widnes have not yet won a game in the qualifiers; let’s make sure that that doesn’t change on Sunday!

Dianne Hall

Two from two, albeit against Championship sides, and I thought it would be three from three at tea-time on Saturday. How wrong could I be?

Positives from this team are getting harder to find. There was no leadership again from senior players. Every week we hear “we are fixing it up”, but it’s hard to see what they are fixing up. Hull KR managed the game better than us through the mercurial Danny McGuire, effectively killing the game off after the miraculous Vaivai ‘try?’.

Our attack is getting there slowly but surely but the defence is getting thinner every week. To make matters worse we picked up another couple of injuries, though that will be glossed over in most quarters.

Sunday’s game is crucial, against a team that we often struggle against, although we’ve already beaten them twice this season!

We shouldn’t need any motivation to beat a team that has lost its last 16 games. Time to rediscover our ruthless streak and really put Widnes to the sword. Let’s make it 17 and take a step closer to safety.