Our fans’ panel have their say on Leeds Rhinos’ crushing victory over Catalans Dragons and look ahead to tomorrow’s home clash with league leaders St Helens.
Are we finally seeing the real Leeds Rhinos? After Friday’s game I think we are.
The defence looks strong and aggressive (too aggressive in Brad Singleton’s case!) and only eight points conceded in 160 minutes is impressive. Especially when 40 minutes against Catalans Dragons was with 12 men.
The attack seems to be clicking and in Rhyse Martin we have a quality go-forward second-rower and decent goal kicker! He looks like a brilliant signing and should only get better.
With four games to go we’re four points above London with a huge points difference in our favour.
We’re not safe but it’s looking far more positive.
With three of those games at home I think we will be fine. The away game at London may not be that important depending on this week’s results.
Our game against Saints will show how far we’ve come and is a good test for us.
Potentially they’ll be resting a few before the Challenge Cup final but we just need to concentrate on our game as we have the past two weeks and another win is likely.
What a delightful couple of weeks for Leeds – two emphatic victories that not only pull us away from relegation trouble, but also present encouragement in terms of performance.
To concede just one try in 160 minutes of rugby is evidence of our improving defensive resilience, particularly when this includes over 30 minutes of playing with one man less than the opposition.
The last two results certainly relieve the pressure for tomorrow’s visit of League Leaders Shield winners St Helens, who head to Wembley next week.
Will tomorrow be the night when Leeds finally notch up three consecutive league wins in 2019? I certainly hope so, and do not think that we are without a chance. We have already shown once this year that we can compete with St Helens, and after recent encouraging performances I don’t see why we cannot raise the bar again.
After all the hype and other clubs’ enjoyment of seeing Leeds tussle with relegation this year, a win over the league leaders will certainly show that we mean business again going into 2020 and more importantly make survival almost certain with three games to go.
Unfortunately it seems the team has clicked a bit too late to mount a top-five challenge, however the last two games would indicate that we are playing as well as most of the top teams.
The performances are a world away from what they were only months ago which I think stems from the defensive work that has been put in all round.
Rhyse Martin’s boot will be a huge asset in some of the tighter games, but it was his defensive contributions that caught my eye.
Speaking of defensive efforts, I’m sure some will wonder why James Donaldson keeps getting in the team. You only need to look at his tackle on Sam Kasiano in the second half to answer that question.
We looked hard to break down even with a man down and the fact that we can score 32 points with 12 men is outstanding.
The only negative from Friday’s performance is that our discipline was more like what it was at the start of the season. But if we can keep this up, then relegation threats may just be squashed.
We got treated to another great team performance last week. The response from the team after going down to 12 men after Brad Singleton’s well deserved red card was superb.
Rhyse Martin had a brilliant game with a superb individual try and 100 per cent from the boot. Harry Newman has taken the challenge of replacing Kallum Watkins in his stride. Richie Myler looks so much better now that Rob Lui has taken some of the burden from him at half-back.
With the other teams in the relegation battle all losing another victory has got us more closer to Super League survival. I think one more win will be enough for us especially with our far superior points difference.
I don’t expect St Helens to rest as many players as they have done previously before a Challenge Cup game. However they did not play a full strength team last week against Warrington and convincingly defeated them so we will have to see. Once again they have been the best team in the regular season. It won’t be easy regardless of which team Saints put out.
After a somewhat shaky start, I thought we were absolutely fantastic on Friday and the atmosphere at Headingley was the best I’ve seen it in some time.
Richard Agar commented that when we had Brad Singleton sent off, the way the crowd responded made it feel like we were back to 13 men, and I think he was spot on.
Catalans didn’t do a lot to make themselves popular; they were offside a number of times throughout the first half and it often felt like they were ready for round two, should things bubble over.
I thought our stand-out player was Rhyse Martin, who is getting better as the weeks go by; his kicking was exceptional once again, and his solo try in the first half was a joy to watch.
I don’t think I’m the only Rhino feeling confident going into tomorrow’s match against St Helens. We’ve played reasonably well in our two previous meetings with Saints, and we’ve found much better form in recent weeks. It is likely Saints will have one eye on next week’s final, so hopefully we can take advantage and produce another great win.
Perhaps it is a bit of an overreaction to say this, but after Brad Singleton was sent off with 30 minutes still to play and only eight points in the game, it seemed for the first time in quite a while as if the fans and this group of players connected.
The noise in the stands went up and suddenly the 12 men on the pitch seemed to grow an inch taller.
Rather than cave in, the players re-gathered themselves and proceeded to blow Catalans Dragons away, scoring five unanswered tries and in the process, with the weekend’s results, put a little bit of daylight between themselves and 12th place.
It was another good performance all round but my nod for man of match was Rhyse Martin, metronomic with the boot and one of our tries of the season.
He looks an excellent capture and must surely only get better.
Tomorrow we face the league leaders, St Helens, no-one is quite sure what sort of team they might bring, but no matter the team, we can head into this game full of confidence.