Red hot and in the pink: Leeds Rhinos talking points ahead of Magic Weekend derby with Castleford Tigers

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A record 62-16 win at Hull was exactly the response Leeds Rhinos needed following the previous week’s drubbing at St Helens.

Rhinos face another huge game on Saturday, against Castleford Tigers at Magic Weekend. Here’s five talking points.

1: Perspective. It was Leeds’ first win against one of the current top seven on the table, but Hull have lost four in succession, are missing key players and their season is in danger of falling apart. Rhinos still need to prove they can go toe-to-toe with an in-form team and beat them.

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2: That said... You can only deal with what’s in front of you and Rhinos were merciless. They made a series of line breaks and the way they moved the ball had Hull chasing shadows at times. It’s still early days, but coach Rohan Smith is clearly having a positive influence on Leeds’ attack and if/when it all comes together they will be an exciting and entertaining team to watch.

Ash Handley celebrates scoring against Hull. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.Ash Handley celebrates scoring against Hull. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
Ash Handley celebrates scoring against Hull. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

3: Brad all over? Rhinos’ number two hooker has been omitted from the past couple of games and, with him being out of contract in November, that has increased speculation he won't be at club next year. In Kruise Leeming, Leeds have an in-form nine capable of playing big minutes, Corey Johnson is waiting in the wings and Jarrod O’Connor can fill in. Two players who were due to leave this autumn, Jack Broadbent and Alex Mellor, have already departed, but Dwyer has been good value over five seasons at Rhinos and it would be fitting if he can still play a role this year, whatever happens in 2023.

4: Nap Handley. Leeds’ left-wing thoroughly deserved his five tries at Hull, after being strong all year without things quite going his way. He took advantage of the pivots finally beginning to gel and if that continues, there’ll be a lot more tries in him over the next three months.

5: Pretty in pink. Rhinos’ record not wearing their pink ‘third’ kit this season: Played 15, won three, drawn one, lost 11. Points for 203, points against 340. Rhinos’ record in pink: Played three, won three. Points for 136, points against 38. Ash Handley has scored four tries not wearing pink, and 10 in the pink kit.

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