YEP Jury: Fan panel reflects on an extremely frustrating week at Leeds Rhinos

Our panel of supporters have their say as yet another Leeds Rhinos fixture is postponed due to the impact of Covid-19 while it was confirmed that club legend Kevin Sinfield will leave his post as director of rugby at the end of the season.

Saturday, 19th June 2021, 11:55 am
Updated Saturday, 19th June 2021, 12:00 pm

IAN SHARP

With the disappointment of missing out on watching a game live last week, I wondered how much the last year has cost me on my season ticket - and I wish I hadn’t.

With most other professorial sports managing to keep participants safe and in club bubbles, is the RFL doing enough to help clubs and players be Covid safe?

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DEPARTING: Kevin Sinfield. Picture: Getty Images.
DEPARTING: Kevin Sinfield. Picture: Getty Images.

I do have to wonder about the management and how things are planned and then implemented.

The club tells us via Rob Oates’ Twitter posts that “members won’t lose out”, well to be honest it very much feels like we are.

There has been nothing about the things we were promised last year for giving back our season ticket money to the club and we have had no plan as to what they are doing for members this year.

The players were due to fly out to France this week and with most not being able to train, the game has been called off.

COVID DELAY: Leeds players celebrate during their emphatic win over Castleford - the last time the Rhinos were in action. Picture: Getty Images.

All the momentum we had from the great win at Cas will be a long distant memory. In better news a massive congratulations to Sir Kev on his latest gong, most well deserved, though it’s sad news he is leaving the club.

MATT FOWLER

No game last week, no game this week, our director of rugby is on his way, with rumours of the coach leaving and limited capacity home games for the foreseeable future. What a cheery couple of weeks it has been for the club.

I am not sure where to start but here goes. The rumours about Agar moving on I will take with a pinch of salt for now. I’ll believe that when I hear it officially, but in all honesty the club is bigger than both him and Sinfield, so we will move on.

ENFORCED BREAK: If Leeds play Salford next week, it will have been one month since they were last in action. Picture: Getty Images.

The main concern is the lack of training and game time, after such an impressive win too. Twelve days without training together is a real worry and not ideal. The fixtures being pushed down the road is also a major complication. I cannot see those games getting played.

We talk regularly about player welfare, but the current fixture list, with multiple games in a week and those two extra fixtures thrown for us puts massive strain on the players. Our chances of winning the World Cup were slim before but now they are pretty much non-existent.

CHRISTINE KIDD

It is disappointing to see another Leeds Rhinos game postponed due to positive Covid tests and track and trace.

HEAD COACH: Richard Agar. Picture: Getty Images.

With the fixture list being so congested in the second half of the season it will be interesting to see how these two postponed games will fit inn. Let’s hope that we don’t get any more postponements in the next few weeks.

The big questions for the Rhinos seem to be who is leaving and who is staying. There are still question marks over Matt Prior and Rhyse Martin, with rumours that Martin is going to Castleford.

Prior is playing his best rugby since joining Leeds so it would be a bonus if he decided to take up his option of another year.

This week’s rumours are about Richard Agar being offered a job in the NRL. It would be very disappointing for Leeds Rhinos if Kevin Sinfield and Richard Agar were to depart at the end of the season. It would leave Gary Hetherington with a big headache.

Congratulations to Kevin on being awarded an OBE for his fundraising efforts for Rob Burrow and MND.

KATIE BURROWS

Covid strikes again at the club, which means our fixture this week has had to be called off. From the sounds of it, the club did everything they could to get the game at Catalans go ahead, but the number of positive tests increasing to eight means that training is currently postponed and we’re awaiting the results of further PCR testing at the weekend. Fingers crossed we’re able to contain things soon, and get back to training - and playing - in the next week or so.

Monday's Government announcement was also a little disheartening. Rugby league, like many other parts of the sporting and hospitality industry, has suffered so much in the past year - I really hope that restrictions are lifted on July 19, to allow more fans to return to stadiums.

In all honesty, I wouldn’t be surprised if the decision is made to delay the Challenge Cup final, if only by a few weeks; although, I can’t imagine that will go down too well with those fans who have already made arrangements based on the mid-July date.

ADAM ANDERSON

So this week we have yet another game postponed through Covid which is a disappointment for us fans.

Lucky that we will be able to slot this one in in the Challenge Cup weekend. Looking forward towards 2022, we are currently hearing a lot of rumours, with Sinfield definitely leaving and then Agar maybe moving to the NRL.

This will be putting a burden on our recruitment in huge positions like second-row and half-backs. I personally think that we don’t need much, but a top quality half-back and a second-rower or two.

I struggled in reviewing the season so far because really the only top point was the Castleford game. We’ve got a lot of work to do for the rest of the season.

GAVIN MILLER

Another game week, another game called off. If Leeds get to play their next game, at Salford, it will have been four weeks since their last one, away at Castleford and my 15-month wait to see Leeds live goes on.

We received a 231-word (yes, I counted) email from Gary Hetherington this week which told us absolutely nothing.

I am well into my second year of paying for two season tickets and yet to see a game and have no idea when or how I will see another one.

Players getting Covid and close contacts self isolating and training grounds shutting down stinks of poor crisis management to me.

If we like it or not we are still within the pandemic - although who we are protecting now I am not too sure with all the elderly and vulnerable double jabbed? - and thus clubs should be managing this crisis.

Players should be in a position where the likelihood of catching Covid is minimal, close contacts should be managed and to get to a point where the training ground has to close is shockingly bad.

It looks like the club’s Covid management policy, if indeed it does exist, has fallen down flat. Not a good look.

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