YEP Jury on Kyle Eastmond, Leeds Rhinos’ derby victory and the return of fans to Headingley

Our fans’ panel look back at Leeds Rhinos’ 15-13 win over Wakefield, Kyle Eastmond’s retirement and the task ahead against Hull at Headingley on Sunday in front of the returning fans.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 4:15 pm
Dual-code international Kyle Eastmond announced his retirement from rugby this week. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.

KATIE BURROWS

Another week, another half-back departure, as Kyle Eastmond announced his retirement from professional rugby on Monday.

It feels like a pointless signing, but I respect Kyle for making that decision now rather than seeing out his contract, knowing his heart wasn’t in it.

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Morgan Gannon put in another impressive display against Wakefield Trinity. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Friday’s result gave us the win we needed, although it wasn’t a good performance, and a draw would have been a fairer result.

Credit to Wakefield, who put in a huge defensive shift, but you’ve got to look at some of our attacking plays and question when it’s going to start coming together.

There were some positives – we’re a better team with Luke Gale on the field, Jack Broadbent showed once again that he deserves to retain the full-back position, and Jarrod O’Connor and Morgan Gannon both continue to impress.

I have no doubt we will suffer a heavy defeat to Hull on Sunday – but I can’t say I care too much!

Jarrod O'Connor impressed our YEP Jury against Wakefield on Friday. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Finally being able to return to Headingley, alongside my fellow supporters, will top any result on the field… although it would be a nice bonus if we do manage a win.

CHRISTINE KIDD

There was a little bit more direction and game management against Wakefield but the attack still looks a little clunky and discipline still needs to improve.

Leeds had lots of possession near the Wakefield line but were unable to turn it into points. On the plus side the youngsters are looking good and Morgan Gannon had an excellent game. Jack Broadbent looked solid and Jarrod O’Connor played well.

Luke Gales celebrates with Ash Handley after his drop goal against Wakefield Trinity. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Next up is Hull FC who are playing really well this year with Brett Hodgson in charge. Jake Connor is settling in at full-back and they have some quality players in attack. Fans will be back in the stadium for the first time in over 12 months so let’s hope both teams contribute to an entertaining game.

Richie Myler and Zane Tetevano should be back on Sunday but we just learned this week that Kyle Eastmond’s return to rugby league is at an end. This will be disappointing for him and for Leeds Rhinos. This means that Richie Myler is likely to play in the halves on Sunday.

Good luck to the Leeds Rhinos Women in their Challenge Cup semi-final against St Helens on Saturday.

GAVIN MILLER

I was really disappointed I wasn’t at Headingley to witness the game against Wakefield Trinity, mainly because I wanted to boo the team off at half-time.

They were dreadful in the first half.

Leeds looked like a team that hadn’t played together before, they lacked cohesion and any kind of cutting edge.

Even a drop goal ahead I had no faith in them seeing the game out and I was proved correct.

A fortuitous penalty in golden point extra-time gave us the spoils and two badly needed competition points but can we say they were earned or deserved?

For me the youngsters look great and are standing up. Jack Broadbent, Jarrod O’Connor and Sam Walters in particular were impressive but of the senior players only Matt Prior can hold his head up following that game.

Again looking forward to the Hull FC game at Headingley on Sunday evening, we’ll get a couple more players back - improvement and cohesion is definitely required.

MATT FOWLER

Another head scratching performance.

Regardless of injuries that was an error strewn and toothless attacking display. Luke Gale returned and the speed of our attack improved but it was all in front of the Wakefield defensive line.

It felt like a relegation battle rather than a top-six game. The knives are starting to come out for Richard Agar, but I’m not sure he is to blame.

Some of the decision-making of our senior players is confusing to say the least.

The positive is the defence is holding up and looking okay, if not outstanding. It gives us hope that we can become a good side if the attack and ill-discipline moves up several levels.

Perhaps the return of the Leeds faithful will help? It is a double-edged sword given our performances.

I am hoping it will inspire and bolster the squad to play to entertain. On the other hand, perform like we have in the last two games, many fans will show their dissatisfaction and that may affect some.

I’m sure on Sunday most will just be glad to be back and support the team. I can’t wait just to be there and see some live sport.

ADAM ANDERSON

We managed to get the win on Friday night against Wakefield Trinity, which was just what we needed, even with the game being quite dismal.

We need to kick on from here and we go again on Sunday evening against Hull FC, who had a real shocker against Catalans Dragons on Monday night.

It is great to have Luke Gale but we seem to be losing players before every game these days.

Hopefully we can have some luck and get players back. Luckily this week we will have Zane Tetevano and Richie Myler back from suspensions.

It was disappointing to hear that Kyle Eastmond had to retire this week without really getting going at the Rhinos, but fair play to him being open and honest about the pressure of top-flight rugby league.

With this news, Rob Lui returning to Australia at the end of the season and then Callum McLelland off contract, we have to go all out and get a top-flight half-back to work with Luke Gale in 2022.

IAN SHARP

It’s hard to know where to begin this, but let’s start with this idiotic ball strip rule. It needs scrapping ASAP.

It’s not only slowing down the game but it’s being misinterpreted by refs in every play, never mind in each game. It’s rubbish and needs putting in the garbage please RFL. A win is a win and the two points will help. We were very poor yet again, it was only that Trinity were a bit worse than we were, so we scraped over the line.

The players no doubt try every game, but I do question how they are being coached in attack by Sean Long; we look woefully inadequate in the last 15 yards, and when Richard Agar puts players out of position on the pitch when they can be placed in their rightful places, it is just bonkers.

This squad needs a massive overhaul, we need a proper number six, a bulldozing prop and cut loose the dead wood and players that are coming to the end of their playing careers.

It’’ll be great to be back at HQ on Sunday against Hull. I am frothing at the mouth to get back, but I do fear for the result unless we get a better game plan and coaching in the week.

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