YEP Jury: A brave Cup effort but Leeds Rhinos must ditch the ‘gallant losers’ tag

Our fans’ panel have their say on Leeds Rhinos’ 26-18 defeat at St Helens in the Challenge Cup and look ahead to tomorrow’s home clash with Wigan.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 4:30 pm
NO WAY THROUGH: St Helens’ Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook is tackled by Leeds’ Zane Tetevano. Picture: Alex Whitehead/


They say never write off a Rhino and Saturday’s narrow Challenge Cup defeat to St Helens definitely proved that!

I don’t think I was ready for it to be such a close game, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought every player in a Leeds shirt did us proud.

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DOUBLING UP: St Helens' Regan Grace scores his side's second try against Leeds Rhinos. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

For me, Zane Tetevano’s sending off was harsh – I think a yellow card would have sufficed on this occasion and can’t help but feel, had Saints not had the one-man advantage for much of the second half, the result could have gone the other way.

I don’t want to focus too heavily on the officials, but consistency of refereeing decisions – or lack of – is hurting the game and, yet again, we seem to be on the wrong end of those decisions.

Moving our focus back to the league, we have a big challenge on our hands in the shape of Wigan tomorrow evening.

Wigan have started the season well, and it’s a tough ask to expect a win from our makeshift Rhinos outfit, but we know what we’re capable of and the addition of Kyle Eastmond will surely help.

STEPPING UP: Leeds Rhinos' Rhyse Martin lines up a kick at goal against St Helens. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.


To be honest, when I saw the team sheet prior to the St Helens game I was expecting a thumping!

Then after Zane Tetevato’s red card just after half-time, I expected a capitulation.

I am relatively pleased to say that neither of these things happened and we came away gallant losers, yet again.

HARD KNOCKS: Leeds Rhinos' James Donaldson receives treatment for a head injury against St Helens. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

I have a feeling we are going to be gallant losers a number of times this season and certainly until the unprecedented injury crisis clears up I have a feeling it may be more often than not.

The problem with being a gallant loser is that you lose... a lot. I hope that we can turn around this form and start being gallant winners.

There was enough against St Helens to show what I mentioned last week, the pack is good, it’s mobile, aggressive and forward thinking and should lay the platform for some wins.

Only having one first choice player available from our one to seven is going to hamper us again tomorrow against Wigan, so I am not holding out much hope, perhaps we may just be gallant losers again this week.


Looking at the team sheet for last Saturday’s Challenge Cup game against St Helens it was difficult to see how Leeds were going to have any chance of winning the game.

The team was made up of forwards as most of our backs and halves were injured. The team on the field didn’t let anyone down and were very close to actually winning the game. Every player performed but special mention must be given to Matt Prior, Mikolaj Oledski, Kruise Leeming and Brad Dwyer. Those four were excellent and Matt Prior played a captain’s game and led from the front.

All the youngsters who played gave a solid display and Morgan Gannon looked a good future prospect on his debut.

We have a quick turnaround this week with Wigan Warriors visiting Emerald Headingley tomorrow. Wigan have had to fight hard to win their first two Super League games after starting both games slowly.

Hopefully the Rhinos may have a couple of players back from injury but whatever happens I’m sure the players on the field will put in another gutsy performance.


We went to St Helens on Saturday hoping that we could turn them over with our severely depleted side.

It didn’t turn out that way, but the lads went out with their heads held high.

I feel that with a proper half-back pairing and more direction, that game was there for the taking.

It’s disappointing to be out of the Challenge Cup but these are learning curves for our young lads.

Losing Zane Tetevano to a four-match ban is disappointing but I can’t begrudge that for that tackle, I didn’t think it was a red card but that’s in the past now.

Onwards to Wigan Warriors tomorrow.

We are all looking forward to seeing Kyle Eastmond make his Leeds Rhinos debut and hopefully he will be paired up with Luke Gale in the very near future.

Having a proper half-back is going to be huge in this game, Wigan have started well this season and will be fully up for this.

Fingers crossed we can get on top of them and get the two points.


Our “Polish Piledriver” Mikolaj Oledzki was brilliant against Saints, powerful runs, some great defence and the power to get over for his try is great for the future of our pack, then on comes Brad Dwyer and gets a brace and almost pinches the Saints pockets.

With no recognised halves on the pitch our only let down was the kicking on the last tackle, but I was mighty proud of the effort for a patched up team, and good tactics from Richard Agar too.

Red card? Not for me, definitely a penalty, and a yellow card, the late hits on the kicker happen every week and are never punished.

Luke Gale took seven or eight the week before against Castleford and not one was punished. If the referees stick to what their sponsors suggest – “do what it says on the tin”– then we should be seeing red cards every week for the rest of the season.

I hope that King Vuniyayawa is okay after the shoulder charge to his head that was also missed by the officials, just because he had the ball in hand it was not picked up.

Wigan are up next tomorrow, let’s hope for some bodies back in the side.


It was a spirited display against Saints. A brave effort, but take the emotion out of the game and we lost it due to our lack of discipline and our non-existent last tackle option.

Having no half-backs clearly didn’t help our cause but the last plays weren’t good enough. The red card in my opinion was correct. You cannot shoulder charge from behind and make direct contact with the head. It was a dumb play.

We need to eliminate direct contact with the head and protect the long-term health of our players.

What I want is consistency with policing that rule. I watched the game that followed ours and a Wakefield player arrived as the third man in the tackle and launched a clumsy swinging arm which made direct contact to the head but that was reviewed and put on report.

The standard you walk by is the standard you accept. That is not good enough.

Rant over and on to Wigan Warriors tomorrow evening. I think it will be another tough night at the office.

It’s a matter of grinding out what we can until bodies return, whenever that might be.

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