YEP Jury: Leeds Rhinos need to conjure up some magic to stave off relegation threat

Leeds Rhinos players show their frustration against Castleford.
Leeds Rhinos players show their frustration against Castleford.
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Our fans’ panel look back to Leeds Rhinos’ derby to Castleford Tigers and ahead to the Magic Weekend encounter with London Broncos at Anfield on Sunday.


All the fanfare and fireworks signalling the opening of the new North Stand couldn’t do much to gloss over what has become a serious issue on the field.

I’ve watched some poor Leeds teams over the years but this appears to be worse. It’s not that we have bad players, we just don’t appear to be able to play as a team.

There’s no consistency in who plays where each week which is not conducive to anyone. Listening to Kevin Sinfield pre-game suggested that there’s deep rooted issues that will take time to sort, unfortunately time is not what we have.

We need wins now especially at Magic Weekend against London.

The new North Stand at Emerald Headingley Stadium.

The new North Stand at Emerald Headingley Stadium.

I’m not one to blame referees for losing but I felt Chris Kendall’s handling of the game was poor. He allowed Castleford to slow the ruck down so much and killed any hope of quick play the ball.

He then did the usual trick of evening up the penalty count at the end when the game was gone!

Sunday is a must-win game if ever there was one!


Leeds Rhinos fans in the new North Stand during the match with Castleford Tigers.

Leeds Rhinos fans in the new North Stand during the match with Castleford Tigers.

We were treated to another poor performance last Thursday. I am struggling to see where the next victory is coming from.

The decision from the referee to give Kallum Watkins 10 minutes in the sin-bin was bizarre, I thought it was a fantastic tackle. I was impressed by the youngsters once again however they are being let down by the senior players.

This Sunday’s game against London is arguably one of the biggest games in the history of the club. The pressure has really risen after London defeated Wakefield once again this season at the weekend.

London are a good honest team and will be very disciplined. They will come into this with no pressure like every other Super League game this season. The players need to show heart and work hard to get the win, however I have my doubts they have it in them.

I think Anfield has been a very poor choice for Magic Weekend. The ground is uncomfortable and the location isn’t ideal either. I would like Robert Elstone to be open and tell us why he moved it from Newcastle.


I’ve been putting this statement off for weeks and weeks, refusing to admit it and thinking that as bad as things are we will not go down, we will just find enough wins to pull away.

However, the reality is we actually are in a relegation battle. After another disappointing defeat and an underwhelming performance we head to Liverpool for Magic Weekend to face London in what is a ‘relegation four pointer’ – I bet nobody predicted that when the draw was done in the off season.

After London’s victory over Wakefield at the weekend this really is a ‘must-win’ for Leeds, who genuinely look like they couldn’t buy a win the minute. As the wait goes on for a new head coach, the wait for a win cannot go on any longer and a loss this week will likely send us bottom of the league again – and it would be much to the pleasure of every non-Leeds fan in attendance this weekend, who will certainly shout for London along the way.

Leeds haven’t won at the Magic Weekend since 2012, but here and now in 2019 need to find some magic again to break this unwanted record, fingers crossed.


If some fans were expecting a reaction from last week, this was not it.

The stage was set for a big performance with the impressive opening of the North Stand but the game itself looked on par with recent standards.

Even with some questionable decisions, we never looked capable of getting back into the game after the first try.

I think we need to trust the people at the top to make the right decisions in the future and hopefully we can repair the foundations of the club.

I give Kevin Sinfield huge amounts of praise for the role he is currently playing at the club.

This is firstly because his role is far from easy but mostly because he is willing to sacrifice his pride and reputation aside to do what is best for this club.

I don’t think many others would be as selfless and for this he deserves perhaps even more respect and love that what we gave him as a player.

Most importantly we are still not bottom going into a massive Magic Weekend game against London Broncos on Sunday at Anfield.


It is a sign of how far the club’s standards seem to have dropped that we are measuring games by whether the team have put in a better effort than the previous week.

We aren’t doing the basics well enough to even threaten to compete for the two points and giving away silly penalties, when we are unable to defend a full set near our line.

Not only does our defence remain a worry, but we look devoid of any structure or combinations in attack.

Our only try on Thursday came from a very scruffy set where Matt Parcell found a yard of space to cross over.

We didn’t look like scoring again. Kevin Sinfield’s interview with Sky TV was ‘interesting’ to say the least. It appears Richard Agar is the man they are behind at the moment.

The fact is that the current situation cannot be allowed to drift because all of a sudden with London’s win over Wakefield the game on Sunday now looks huge.

Last year I kept thinking ‘we are too good to go down’; on the evidence of the last few weeks, we are in serious trouble in 2019.


It’s becoming difficult to know what to write each week, and almost impossible to remain positive after performances like Thursday’s.

Once again, we lacked discipline, our defence was woeful, and we now appear to have forgotten how to attack.

I said earlier in the season we were taking two steps backwards for every step we took forward, now we’re simply going backwards.

To avoid dwelling on last week too much let’s focus on this year’s Magic Weekend, which I’m really looking forward to.

Our fixture against London Broncos is certainly a must-win game and could end up being one of the deciding factors in whether or not we are relegated. I know a lot of fans aren’t happy with the decision to move the event away from Newcastle and there are complaints that Anfield is too far from the city centre, but I enjoy seeing the games at different venues and think it’s a great advert for rugby league.

Hopefully it’s a great day out and a win for the Rhinos – it can’t be much worse than last year, can it?