YEP Jury: Leeds Rhinos’ mounting injury list is a big concern

Our panel of fans have their say on Leeds Rhinos’ 18-10 defeat against Castleford and look ahead to Saturday’s Challenge Cup tie at St Helens.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 5:09 pm
BIG HITTER: Castleford's Derrell Olpherts is tackled by Leeds Rhinos' Zane Tetevano, left, and Kruise Leeming. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

KATIE BURROWS

Despite not coming away with the two points, I was pleased with our overall performance against Castleford Tigers last Friday.

Our defence was much improved on the whole and to get the score back to 12-4 at half-time, after a pretty slow start, showed a lot of effort.

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Luke Briscoe is congratulated after scoring his try against Castleford. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

Our kick and chase game was good, and our younger players are showing a lot of promise for the future, especially Corey Hall and Jack Broadbent.

Without taking too much away from Castleford, I was expecting more from them, especially given how they started the game.

I can’t fail to mention our ever-growing casualty list – we are missing a lot of key players, and losing Richie Myler so close to kick off was a big blow.

That said, if we can continue to play at this level and battle our way through our current injury woes, we won’t be too far off the mark.

NEAR MISS: Leeds Rhinos' Rhyse Martin is held up by Castleford's Liam Watts, Oliver Holmes and Niall Evalds. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

Whilst I’m not expecting us to beat St Helens on Saturday, a strong performance would be nice to see; and you never know, it is the Challenge Cup after all!

MATT FOWLER

Given the team line up, the performance against Castleford was spirited but once again discipline and errors contributed massively to the loss.

When you are down on numbers mistakes and penalties are amplified. That side of our game doesn’t seem to be improving fast enough. I am also astonished at the injury list two games into the season, a season that saw the longest pre-season we have had for some time.

It might just be my perception but reports at the start of pre-season were that we were flying, four weeks out from the season start and injuries began to pile up.

Calf strains, muscle tears and hamstring injuries. Questions need to be asked of our preparation.

St Helens in the Cup with possibly no-one returning to fitness except Kyle Eastmond doesn’t fill me with much confidence. We will need a performance over and above what we achieved in the semi-final last year and probably for Saints to have an off day. Stranger things have happened.

Until our back line returns it’s difficult to see how well we will go this year. The magic sponge needs to make an appearance and quickly.

CHRISTINE KIDD

Games against Castleford Tigers are never easy and last Friday was no exception.

On paper it always looked a difficult job for a depleted Leeds Rhinos.

Richie Myler was a big loss, even though Jack Broadbent had another good game, this time at full-back.

The Rhinos never gave up and at one point the game was very much in the balance but Castleford’s power and experience won through in the end.

Luke Gale will improve with each game that he plays but missing most of the pre-season won’t have done him any favours.

Saturday is Challenge Cup day and Leeds would have been hoping to draw one of the Championship sides that are still in the competition.

That would have given us a good start to defend our trophy. That was not to be and the Rhinos are playing St Helens which will be a very difficult game.

St Helens are hoping to do the treble this season so will be going all out for a win. Leeds will probably not have any players back so it will be a difficult task to progress to the next round.

GAVIN MILLER

There’ll be a lot of talk about how valiant Leeds were with an understrength side against a good team, but I’d like to put across the alternative point of view.

I think the current Leeds pack is as good as it has been for years. Zane Tetavato looks the real deal and add in the rest of the pack it looks solid, mobile, strong and capable of dominating the opposition in defence and attack.

Absolutely I’d like to see more from Alex Mellor and Rhys Martin, and what comes off the bench with Bodene Thompson and James Donaldson isn’t much to write home about, but I am confident we have the pack to compete.

With the forwards laying the platform, the backs, marshalled by captain Luke Gale, should be taking advantage despite how young or inexperienced they are.

A couple of mistakes were punished and Leeds were left chasing the game, when in fact I feel they should be imposing themselves on the opposition and getting them to chase us.

Let’s see if they can turn this around against what most agree is the best team in the competition.

ADAM ANDERSON

A huge encounter was upon us last week when we faced Castleford Tigers. It was a very hard task before we even started with injuries throughout the backs, but then we ended up with another big blow, losing Richie Myler.

Hopefully the injury isn’t serious and we get him back soon as well as a few others.

The lads showed up for the game but experience prevailed in the end.

Zane Tetevano is going to be a huge signing for us, with all the hits he’s been throwing in.

Jack Broadbent once again stood out and showed his versatility.

This weekend we face a mammoth task in beating arguably the best team in the league, St Helens, in the third round of the Challenge Cup.

You have to beat the best to be involved in finals. We’ve been in games like this before though, when we’ve been written off but come on top.

It sounds as though it’ll be Kyle Eastmond’s debut, which will be very exciting for all to watch.

Hopefully he can do a number on his old club and put us in the next round.

IAN SHARP

They say our club is built on values, and the “Spirit of the Rhinos” and no more was that evident in the loss to local rivals Castleford Tigers on Sunday afternoon.

With so many starters missing from the team it was always going to be an uphill struggle to overcome a good, strong Tigers side that had a good win in their first outing.

Matt Prior and Zane Tetevano were again outstanding, it was rather odd that Mikolaj Oledzki never came back on after his first stint.

We need to take Liam Sutcliffe out of the halves, he brings nothing to the position, he would be better at full-back or in the centres and let’s give Luke Gale some better help in the halves. It’s more a worry how we have so many injuries in the first few weeks of the season, when we had one warm-up match and pre-season, is there a major flaw in how they are being trained?

Were they pushed too hard too soon in the first few weeks of pre-season?

It’s Saints away next in the Cup on Saturday, and as optimistic as I am, I can’t see us progressing.

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