YEP Jury on Cup ‘triple-header’ weekend and Rohan Smith’s arrival at Leeds Rhinos

Leeds Rhinos return to action this weekend when they travel to Salford Red Devils.

By Steve Heptinstall
Monday, 9th May 2022, 4:40 pm

Our fans’ Jury are in upbeat mood about the prospects for a third successive win.

Here they reflect on last weekend’s Elland Road Challenge Cup triple-header and look ahead to Rohan Smith’s first game as Rhinos boss.

TOM RHODES

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Leeds Rhinos' Zoe Hornby on her way to scoring a try against St Helens in the Women's Challenge Cup final on Saturday. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

Well, what a great weekend of rugby that was at Elland Road.

Firstly, a close game between St Helens and Wigan which showed St Helens aren’t ‘all that’ this season. Since St Helens have picked up a few injuries they look a little bit weaker.

At the same time, I’m slightly pleased with our squad when we get a few injuries, as it lets the youngsters gel with the first team and build from there. You just need to look at Jack Broadbent and Liam Tindall who’ve each had a good season so far.

Then what happened to Hull KR? My word they look deflated, Rhinos beating them a week and half ago and now Huddersfield demolishing them in the semi-final. Surely Hull KR must be looking for their next coach sooner rather than later.

Leeds Rhinos new head coach Rohan Smith. Picture: Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos/SWpix.com.

Looking ahead to our fixture on Sunday against Salford and I’m feeling more confident than ever we’ll come away as winners.

With a few more boys nearly back and Rohan Smith having had a full week of training, we should be in a much better state compared to where we were a couple of months ago.

OLIVER LIMON

‘Wise men say only fools rush in.’ Rohan Smith is here and will take his time to measure the squad, integrating his coaching philosophy gradually.

Richie Myler is closing in on a first-team return at Leeds Rhinos. Picture: Tony Johnson.

JJB has reignited a will to win and got the squad putting their bodies on the line for each other. It’s the new man’s job to take us to the next level, consistently beating other teams and producing 80-minute performances.

It was brilliant to have the women’s Challenge Cup final broadcast on the BBC, inspiring future generations. Leeds did the club proud despite losing out to Saints in an engaging battle. Wigan’s men’s team just got home against their neighbours Saints in a ‘classic semi’ and will face Huddersfield in the final. This has spread panic in anticipation of the size of the crowd! My enthusiasm and anticipation for the Salford match has, once again, been dampened by the judiciary with Leeds missing both Morgan Gannon and Matt Prior.

Leeds are already being linked with NRL stars for next season and, with some of the top earners under-performing, it is time for certain players to repay the faith of the blue and amber fans with results.

JOSH MORROW

It feels strange to talk about losses after two crucial wins against Toulouse and Hull KR, but the Challenge Cup defeat at home by Castleford could well be a blessing in disguise.

Having a weekend off with no game after a busy Easter period has given new coach Rohan Smith plenty of time to work with his new squad.

Judging by the team’s social media it looks as though they have a few players returning from injury, one of which is Richie Myler.

His ball-playing skills and eye for a pass have been a massive miss for Leeds who have struggled to score points this year.

The team will be missing Matt Prior and Morgan Gannon through suspension so a return for Tom Holroyd would take the pressure off the shoulders of Mikolaj Oledzki who has been immense this year.

A win against Salford would set Leeds up for the rest of the season very nicely especially with a winnable game against Wakefield the week after.

If they can win both of these games, they wouldn’t have a game for a few weeks which again would be ideal on the injury and coaching front.

KHYA GOTT

It was great to see a record-breaking crowd for the women’s Challenge Cup final at Elland Road on Saturday at Elland Road. It looked like a good day out.

Looking back on our men’s team’s season so far, it hasn’t been the biggest success story but Rohan Smith is here now and, hopefully, after back-to-back wins we are back on track.

Our win against Hull KR was a great result, the players stuck their bodies on the line and put things right after a dreadful start to the campaign.

We are back in action this weekend against Salford and I’m hoping for a better result than the last time we played them in March.

We have come a long way since then, so I’d like to see that reflected on the pitch.

It was three tries in the last 15 minutes that ruined us during that game.

Salford are below us heading into this game.

So, if we can make it three wins on the bounce and create a gap between ourselves and Super League’s bottom three, that would be a great turnaround.

KENDLE HARDISTY

It was a weekend of rugby that had me feeling very jealous.

The Rhinos women’s team was in a final and the men’s semi-final double header at Elland Road looked to have a quality atmosphere.

It’s where the Rhinos belong, but the standard of the Saints-Wigan game demonstrated how far we are off that level and how far away we are from a semi-final. And what a job Ian Watson has done at the Giants; it was a great win for them, against Hull KR.

Congratulations to the Rhinos women’s team. Before the match, Saints were firm favourites and predicted to run riot.

The women held their own for 70 minutes but you could see some fatigue in the last 10. It was a great experience for those players and they should be proud. It is our first game under Rohan Smith on Sunday. Salford are coming into this with six straight defeats – their last win … Leeds Rhinos in March.

Off the back of two wins, you’d like to think we are favourites and it’s a great opportunity for some much-needed momentum. Hopefully, there are a few bodies back available to keep us going.

IAIN SHARP

With a blank week for the men’s team, attentions turned to the ‘triple-header’ at Elland Road, with the two men’s Challenge Cup semi-finals and the ladies’ Challenge Cup final featuring the Leeds Rhinos Women’s team.

I understand the Rhinos put up a proper arm wrestle and were unfortunate to miss out, going down 18-8.

You can tell how much of an effort they put in, when the player-of-the-match is awarded from the losing side, so congratulations to Leeds’ Zoe Hornby.

In the men’s games, Wigan ran up a large total and then faced St Helens trying to chase it down while, in the other semi, Huddersfield blew away Hull KR to set up an east v west final.

The Leeds men’s team are back in action on Sunday, with a trip to Salford and will have had the experience of a week working under new coach Rohan Smith.

Given Salford’s proposed swap with the League 2 football team, this might be one of the last visits to the AJ Bell Stadium by the side of the M62, as the rugby team are in talks to take over Salford City FC’s Peninsula Stadium next season.