YEP Jury: Fantastic team effort puts Leeds Rhinos on the brink of grand finale

Our panel of fans look back on Leeds Rhinos’ impressive 8-0 play-off victory at Wigan Warriors and ahead to Friday night’s semi-final showdown at St Helens.

Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 4:30 pm

KATIE BURROWS

We made a last minute decision to head over to the DW on Thursday evening and I’m so glad we did. From the minute we arrived the atmosphere and support was incredible, and I just had a feeling we were going to win.

There were the usual careless passes into touch and some poor discipline in the early stages, but I thought our defence was fantastic throughout.

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Leeds Rhinos fans celebrate their victory at Wigan last week. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

We looked like a different team to the one that was trampled by St Helens a few weeks earlier.

Wigan were arguably poor and lacked any attacking creativity, but the way we kept players like John Bateman and Jackson Hastings at bay shows we are worthy semi-finalists.

I’ve seen a lot of people criticise the game, saying it was dull and shows how downhill the game has gone – it probably wasn’t the best spectacle for a neutral, but I’m sure most Rhinos enjoyed it.

We were well beaten by Saints earlier this month, and whilst we have some bodies back, I fear it could be a game too far.

Leeds Rhinos' Konrad Hurrell and Rob Lui embrace after the Wigan match. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Hopefully I’m proven wrong and we go marching onto Old Trafford next week!

MATT FOWLER

Through all the adversity this team keeps on finding a way to win. Wigan have had their troubles but to nil them again was a terrific effort.

We have been defensively sound all season, but we found another gear and shut out anything Wigan did send our way. Kruise Leeming at scrum-half has been a revelation and produced another outstanding performance. Like I said last week, this time of year the fans and players come alive and this week we need everything to go our way.

Mikolaj Oledzki on the run at Wigan. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Saints away is the toughest challenge, they are still the best team, in my opinion. We will need our forward pack to dominate.

That will be no easy task with Alex Walmsley in top form, but he needs to be stopped if we have any chance.

We may have more troops back to help but I don’t think the team will change significantly.

It looks as though we will travel in good spirits and with a sizable following.

Leeds Rhinos' head coach Richard Agar and assistant Sean Long salute the fans at Wigan. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Anything can happen in these games and we need to stay in the fight. With the fans in full voice will Old Trafford await for Leeds?

CHRISTINE KIDD

Leeds Rhinos are one game away from Old Trafford and the Grand Final. That’s not something I thought I would be saying earlier in the season.

The Rhinos players however had other ideas and they have achieved more than they could have hoped for by winning their first play-off game at Wigan Warriors.

The game last Thursday was a fantastic team effort. Everyone in the team worked hard for each other.

It was good to see Mikolaj Oledski back on the field after his injury.

He made a big difference, as he always does. Ash Handley put in a leader’s performance and his try was the difference between the two teams.

Defences were on top and to keep Wigan scoreless at home for the second time this season was very impressive.

St Helens on Friday will be a different story and the Rhinos will hope that they can stop Alex Walmsley from doing what he did to them a few weeks ago.

Saints deservedly finished second in the league and it will take a big effort to beat them and get to Old Trafford, but nothing is impossible.

GAVIN MILLER

When I got home from Wigan last Thursday night I was surprised to read on social media that the majority of non-Leeds fans thought the game was dull and boring as I for one had had the time of my life!

I’m not a fan of those games which are 48-34 with loads of tries and poor defence on show.

I much prefer an 8-0 scoreline which shows great defence, defiance, and an ability to hold your nerve.

I especially like 8-0 scorelines when my team is scoring the eight and Wigan are scoring the zero and it’s a play-off game with a place in the last four the reward.

It was a fantastic night in Wigan. It was old school singing your hearts out for 80 minutes, willing the team on and feeling like you played a part in the victory.

We were all marching on together and pulling off an unlikely victory in the face of adversity and daring to dream that we could once again win it from fifth.

Friday will be a very difficult night. Leeds are understandably the underdogs but this is “play-off footy”, this is the “business end of the season”.

St Helens on a Friday night in a play-off semi-final, what could possibly better that?

IAN SHARP

We couldn’t, could we? Maybe we can!

After a tight, tense nervous game last Thursday away at Wigan Warriors we have set up a surprising semi-final away at our old Grand Final rivals Saints.

I must admit I didn’t see Hull KR beating the Wolves, I guess it’s not their year again!

Having some bodies back last week was a big lift and with Zane Tetevano and big Mik Oledzki we packed a real punch.

With some sublime stuff from Harry Newman we looked in the mood not to be beaten.

Will we get a repeat of the classic semi-final from a few years ago, when Sir Kev kicked that 40/20 with a few minutes to go and Kallum Watkins went over to clinch the win, in one of the best atmospheres we had in the old South Stand?

If we can keep 13 players on the pitch for the full 80 minutes, if we can keep James Roby quiet, if our kicking game is at its best, there is no reason that my IF form will be wasted.

It’s going to be tough, but to win the final you have to beat the best. A Leeds v Hull KR final would be great.

ADAM ANDERSON

With how our season has gone, who would have thought we would be 80 minutes away from Old Trafford?

We went to Wigan Warriors just happy about being in the play-offs, but there was growing expectation coming up to game day.

The lads were superb to keep Wigan to nil again. Wigan made quite a lot of mistakes but the lads’ defensive work was immense. Big raps must go out to James Donaldson and Luke Briscoe who got through an abundance of work.

Onwards to St Helens on Friday night. Again we go into it with no expectation of beating them and getting to the big dance.

If we do win this, this could go down as arguably the most surprising Grand Final appearance of all, given all the turmoil and injuries we’ve had to deal with throughout the season, but it’s Leeds Rhinos and we are the champions of the shocks.

Congratulations to Kruise Leeming on his Dream Team appearance, he has had a superb season for the Rhinos and thoroughly deserves the accolade.

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