YEP Jury: It’s not panic stations yet, but there are worrying signs for Leeds Rhinos

Our fans’ panel were not happy with the manner of Leeds Rhinos’ defeat at Huddersfield Giants on Sunday. Here are their thoughts on the game:

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 4:33 pm

KATIE BURROWS

I don’t want to dwell on Sunday’s result too much as I was pretty disappointed.

It’s true we’re still dealing with some big injuries (as well as a couple of players who are currently suspended), but I think the team we fielded at the weekend should have won at Huddersfield Giants.

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Lee Gaskell kicks the winning drop goal for Huddersfield Giants against Leeds Rhinos. Picture: Simon Hulme.

Our discipline was very poor and there’s no excuse for that.

We have a week off, as other teams are back in action in the Challenge Cup – hopefully the break gives some players a chance to improve their match fitness, and we’re able to welcome back a few more bodies for our clash with Wakefield.

It feels quite early to be talking about ‘must-win games’, but we desperately need to start picking up points, and I think a loss next week would be disastrous.

We’re really missing Luke Gale at the moment, both in attack and as a leader, so the sooner he’s back the better.

Leeds Rhinos players show their frustration after the final hooter at Huddersfield. Pcture: Simon Hulme.

Finally, well done to the Leeds Rhinos Women’s team, who continued their dominant start to the season with a 72-0 win over Featherstone Rovers last weekend.

GAVIN MILLER

The only thing more disappointing than the Line of Duty series finale last weekend was Leeds’ defeat to Huddersfield Giants.

It is as if H himself is pulling some strings and Leeds’ season is in as much danger as a bent copper is from AC12.

Leeds Rhinos head coach Richard Agar. Picture: Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos/SWpix.com.

Leeds looked exactly what they are currently, a team without half-backs.

I’m not sure the Kruise Leeming experiment worked and although Liam Sutcliffe showed glimpses over the 80 minutes his overall performance will be summed up by three missed dropped goal attempts.

I don’t think it is harsh to say two of those were very gettable.

Leeds are carrying a number of players who really aren’t up to scratch for a top-of-the-table side and it is showing.

Leeds Rhinos' Liam Sutcliffe breaks through the Huddersfield defence. Picture: Simon Hulme.

In the past we could carry the odd unglamorous workhorse but I feel we are carrying five or six at the moment.

Yes, we still have players to come back and players need to get up to speed but I can’t be the only Leeds fan very disappointed with current performances and position in the table.

CHRISTINE KIDD

Sunday’s performance against Huddersfield Giants was an improvement on last week, but there were still far too many penalties and very little game management.

The Rhinos put themselves in a position to win this game and then squandered it by making silly mistakes and giving away unnecessary penalties.

As Richard Agar said in his after-game interview some of the more senior players are not playing as well as they should be and while you can excuse the youngsters when they make mistakes there is little excuse when senior players are doing this on a consistent basis.

Liam Sutcliffe was a welcome returnee to the side but I don’t think we have played the same half-backs for two consecutive games this season. This doesn’t help.

Hopefully a week off before we take on Wakefield will give us the boost that we need. There is still lots of room for improvement and the return of Luke Gale should be a big plus. We need to start winning games or we will find ourselves spending even more time near the bottom of the Super League table.

MATT FOWLER

Another defeat, another pretty poor performance. I am not particularly surprised by the lack of attack and cohesion given our injuries, but the ill-discipline and lack of game awareness is a real worry.

For many weeks and months this team doesn’t seem to adapt to the referee and how he is managing the game.

I know referees should apply the rules the same, but we know they do not. They pick up certain things in a game and it seems this team doesn’t adapt very well.

I have not seen the statistics for six-again or penalties against, but I think Leeds will be very near the top.

The one-on-one strip rule is not one of my favourites and towards the end of the game we seemed to decide that every tackle we were going to try it. A high-risk strategy that failed and ultimately cost us field position and the game.

We have a week’s rest and hopefully a chance to get some bodies back. Agar has stated there is a good team in there somewhere.

He needs to find it and quick, or this season will be over before it has started.

IAN SHARP

I stated a few weeks ago that “losing was also a habit”, just like winning.

Failing to close out tight games is a worrying sign, it’s just like we were doing in 2016 and we all know how that turned out.

Not only are we losing, but we are playing rubbish rugby league, it’s one up carries and woeful last plays.

It has been the same the last few matches, so the question is: what is Sean Long doing to fix it?

He was one of the best halves in rugby league and yet we have no clue in the attacking last third of the pitch.

It’s a great concern that without Luke Gale on the pitch we have no structure and communication. A few years ago we sacked David Furner for a very similar start to the season and we were playing just as boring rugby.

Maybe Agar will get longer in the job than he deserves, while we are having to put up with watching tripe on the pitch.

A week off, then it’s Wakefield Trinity, if we lose this game, I’d think the writing might be on the wall for some of the coaching team.

ADAM ANDERSON

This was supposed to be a huge turnaround game for us this week, but again it wasn’t to be, both teams were way off their best.

Players need to be held accountable for this performance, these were the words of Richard Agar and I hope he sticks to his word. I do believe that once we have our injured players back, we will be better, but we are starting to fall away already from the top-end teams and with a couple more losses our season would be worth nothing.

This week for me, the RFL have made a huge mockery of our sport with the eight-match ban for Tony Clubb.

He was found guilty of racially abusing Hull’s Andre Savelio, but an independent tribunal stated they didn’t believe he was a racist.

So, he’s said to not be a racist, but said something that constitutes racism. After the eight games he will come back into our game like nothing has happened.

For someone in the public eye, he should be more accountable.

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