'No hope or optimism': Leeds Rhinos fans in angry mood after latest loss

After a third successive defeat, the YEP’s fans panel have written off Leeds Rhinos’ chances of a top-six finish.
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Our Jury were left bitterly disappointed, again, by Rhinos’ performance in the 13-6 loss to Leigh Leopards, which came days after Blake Austin’s shock exit.

There is plenty of criticism for some of Rhinos’ senior players and the match officials aren’t flavour of the month either.

TOM GOLDSWORTHY

The view from Headingley's Eastern Terrace before Rhinos' clash with Leigh. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com.The view from Headingley's Eastern Terrace before Rhinos' clash with Leigh. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com.
The view from Headingley's Eastern Terrace before Rhinos' clash with Leigh. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com.
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In what will likely be the final nail in our play-off hopes, Leeds succumbed to a close loss to Leigh which makes our chase for the top-six so much harder.

First of all, I would like to discuss the Blake Austin farce that has gone on this week and I believe the club has made the right call in letting him go.

His attitude off the field has been poor ever since his contract renewal was up in the air and calling out Gary Hetherington on a podcast was never going to sit well with the Rhinos owner.

The fact he would go to a rival club at such a crucial point in the season speaks volumes about his character and I believe Leeds will be better off without him in the long run.

Rhinos' Jarrod O'Connor, left and Tom Holroyd get to grips with Leigh's John Asiata. Picture by Ian Hodgson/PA Wire.Rhinos' Jarrod O'Connor, left and Tom Holroyd get to grips with Leigh's John Asiata. Picture by Ian Hodgson/PA Wire.
Rhinos' Jarrod O'Connor, left and Tom Holroyd get to grips with Leigh's John Asiata. Picture by Ian Hodgson/PA Wire.
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Even though Leeds were not at full strength against the Leopards, there were enough senior players within the 17 who should have stepped up and put a performance in.

Players such as Mikolaj Oledzki, Aidan Sezer and Cameron Smith failed to produce when we needed them the most, which is something that has become common this season.

While we did not make as many errors as we have in previous games, our lack of a cutting edge meant it would be a tough day at the office. There was not much on show to get excited about and our six points on the scoreboard proves this.

Hopefully another week off will give our injured players enough time to get back and try to salvage some pride that has been lost in this dire season.

Rhinos' James Bentley is tackled by Ben Reynolds of Leigh. Picture by Ian Hodgson/PA Wire.Rhinos' James Bentley is tackled by Ben Reynolds of Leigh. Picture by Ian Hodgson/PA Wire.
Rhinos' James Bentley is tackled by Ben Reynolds of Leigh. Picture by Ian Hodgson/PA Wire.
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We have enough games left to try and finish in the strongest position possible and get some momentum to head into next season.

DAVID MUHL

Sunday was another disappointing visit to headquarters. Having said that, I thought this was a game we could and should have won.

There was plenty of endeavour amongst the Leeds team, but we lacked a spark to break down a strong Leigh defence. This is a team that is severely lacking in confidence.

There were some good performances, especially Cameron Smith who I think is developing into the best loose-forward in Super League. I thought Luke Hooley didn’t look out of place at this level either.

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I rarely comment on referees, we wouldn’t have a game without them, but I hope Mr Griffiths watches his performance back; at times I thought the Leigh players had gone to sleep, they were taking so long to get up from the tackle.

American football star Tom Brady would have been proud of some of the forward passes and don’t get me started on head high calls for tackling under the armpit.

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If this had not been a Sky-televised game Jarrod O’Connor’s try would have been given - I still don’t know why it wasn’t - and the last 10 minutes or so would have been a different story.

Although it is still mathematically possible for us to qualify for the play-offs, in reality our season is over and I hope Rohan Smith uses the last few games to give our youth a bit of experience in the first team.

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It seems pointless to be playing players who will be leaving at the end of the season. Our next game is at home to Warrington and this just might be a game to get some confidence back into the team.

Leeds fans have understandably been disappointed this year, but at least we haven’t played as badly as Warrington, who - quite honestly - are serving up absolutely awful rugby at the moment. Always look for the positives.

BECKY SHARP

Leigh were the opponents on Armed Forces day at Headingley and I was hopeful of getting a win and avoiding a third defeat on the bounce.

The Last Post was played before a minute’s silence and you could hear a pin drop. We had a few changes to the team from the last round due to departure and injuries and James Donaldson played his 100th game for the Rhinos.

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The first half was very nip and tuck and a 6-4 half-time lead was a good representation of the game.

The second half was a bit more scrappy and attacking-wise we didn’t make many runs and it felt like it wasn’t going to be our day again.

I was right in front of the try by Jarrod O’Connor which was disallowed and I do feel the decision was wrong. The ball definitely hit the ground cleanly so I don’t know what the video ref was seeing. I’m not full of sour grapes though, or a ‘Whino’. It is obvious why Leigh are where they are in the league and it is deserved.

As a consequence of other results we have dropped a place in the league and I do now think we are going to find it very hard to get into a top-six spot. I think we just need to finish this season and look to next season to build and grow as a team

IAIN SHARP

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Last week saw Leeds fans facing that great ethical dilemma: do you back the opposition team at the bookies when they are clearly massively wide of the mark with their odds?

All that was before the shock loan of Blake Austin to Castleford on Thursday. Whilst happy to big up his good games, on the whole Austin’s powers have been sadly disappointing for Leeds and his form has been about as consistent as the 2023 summer.

The Leigh game had all the makings of a shocker: one side devoid of form and confidence and the other going through the motions in anticipation of their biggest day for 50 years next weekend.

If this season is going to be written off to experience, it was worth looking at the form of Luke Hooley, in for Richie Myler and a player who has clearly benefited from his loan back at Batley.

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Luis Roberts, playing out of position at centre, was another one of the new crop who had a decent performance and if we don’t make the play-offs, it is crucial that the up coming players are given sufficient game time.

It’s the Challenge Cup final next Saturday, the first without one of the big clubs since 1985. Enjoy the experience.

SAM BROCKSOM

Another week, another defeat, another poor performance. It is now six consecutive years where we finish outside the top-four and we seem to have no intention of changing things. One signing has been announced in Mickael Goudemand, yet we look to be losing Blake Austin, Aidan Sezer, Sam Walters, James Bentley and Liam Tindall, whilst already having lost Kruise Leeming mid-season.

I don’t know what Rohan Smith’s plan is, but us fans are getting tired of the same old answers and comments in the media every week. There is no hope or optimism around the club anymore. What happened to ‘The Spirit of the Rhino’?

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I hope Rohan doesn’t allow the players to go on holiday during this week off. I hope they get beasted in training and really made to work. The forward pack have been hugely disappointing all season, especially Mik Oledzki. He is a shadow of his former self but isn’t helped by the other forwards also not pulling their weight.

Good luck to the women’s side at Wembley this Saturday, I’m sure they will give everything for the jersey and hopefully they can get revenge on St Helens after losing the final to them last year.