YEP Jury: Relentless fixture list takes its toll as Leeds Rhinos edge ‘ugly’ derby win

Our fans’ panel reflect on Leeds Rhinos’ narrow victory over Castleford Tigers and have their say on the demands of the fixture list.

Wednesday, 28th October 2020, 4:34 pm
Ava Seumanufagai goes on the attack as Tyla Hepi and Liam Watts close in. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

GRAHAM POULTER

Leeds didn’t disgrace themselves in the defeat against St Helens. The scoreline suggested that Leeds had been thrashed, but the performance by Leeds told a different story.

The youngsters that played in that game again showed up well and held a strong St Helens side for long periods of the game.

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Tom Briscoe scores Leeds Rhinos' fourth try against Castleford Tigers. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Monday night’s victory against Castleford can only be described as an ugly win, in what was the first game back for most of the players who played in the Challenge Cup final.

Even though Cas were down a player after the sending off of Oliver Holmes, it gave them a lift and they got into Leeds’ faces on numerous occasions which resulted in Leeds becoming rattled and uncomposed in their play.

However Leeds will have been glad to get the win to keep up their win percentage especially as the top four play-off places could be extended to possibly the teams who end up finishing anywhere between fifth and eighth place.

Tomorrow’s game sees Leeds take on Wakefield who have won their last two games, so Leeds will have another tough game on their hands.

Tom Briscoe celebrates scoring Leeds Rhinos' fourth try against Castleford Tigers. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

CHRISTINE KIDD

The ‘Baby Rhinos’ did well against St Helens last Friday and once again the scoreline flattered their opponents.

Brad Dwyer put in a sterling effort as he captained the team for the first time. Jack Broadbent performed well even though he was playing out of position. The experience that these youngsters are gaining will stand them in good stead for the future.

A close win against Castleford on Monday night keeps Leeds in the hunt for the play-offs. Ava Seumanufagai had a dominant performance and fully deserved his man-of-the-match award.

Richie Myler on the charge against Castleford Tigers. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Castleford didn’t make it easy for the Rhinos even though they were down a player for a large part of the game.

The next couple of weeks will be make or break for the Rhinos as they fight to finish in the top-four. It will be very impressive if they manage it.

Playing games that are meaningless does nothing for the welfare of the players or the integrity of the competition.

Three games in seven days is ludicrous and could be avoided if only Sky games were played.

ADAM ANDERSON

In the past seven days we’ve faced St Helens and Castleford Tigers.

Rightly so, we played with a very young side against St Helens after the lads that played in the Challenge Cup final will have been celebrating throughout the week.

It ended in a defeat but it’s great experience for the young lads.

Castleford Tigers was a big game with real controversy, especially when Oliver Holmes was sent off for the visitors.

I feel he was rightly sent off, you cannot kick out at someone on the floor no matter what happened previously to that.

It was a good, much-needed victory in our fight for a top-four place.

Onwards to Wakefield Trinity twice this week, hopefully the momentum can carry on towards the end, whatever that looks like.

On that point, the constant chopping and changing when the powers that be feel something isn’t right, is making a mockery of our sport.

Given the state of the pandemic, they should just leave it with the agreed play-offs and Grand Final.

DIANNE HALL

Friday’s result was expected but the relatively inexperienced Rhinos certainly didn’t let anyone down.

As the saying goes “the future’s bright” and there were plenty of positives from our performance against a side that are, arguably, the best in the league at the moment in St Helens.

Liam Tindall continued where he left off and thoroughly deserved his try also Jack Walker will have gained valuable game time from the run out.

We are in dire need of a backup goal kicker though! There was a bit of unexpected news from HQ this week with the appointment of Sean Long as assistant coach.

I didn’t particularly like him as a player when he was with St Helens but I think he is a good addition to the back-room staff. What do I know?

I didn’t like Luke Gale when he played for Castleford and we all know what an asset he has been.

Talking of Castleford, Monday’s match was a typical derby game that was hard fought and at times scrappy, but an ugly win against Castleford is always better than a loss!

IAN SHARP

Another week and another possibility that again the Super League is going to re-jig this topsy turvy season.

Last weekend the decision was taken to rest a lot of the squad that won the Challenge Cup, in our game against Saints.

It’s hard to know which way to look at it, I understand that the high of a final can drain players mentally, but also with three games this week did we not think we would beat Saints and pick the games to play a full squad that we have more of a chance of winning?

I am not sure, I do know to win the Grand Final you have to beat everybody, only time will tell I guess.

It was a full-blooded West Yorkshire derby at the start of the week against Cas, low on skill in parts but great passion and spirit like good old fashioned rugby league.

We made so much heavy work in the second half; being a man up we seemed not to be using the ball to make space and use the man advantage.

Two games now against a resurgent Wakefield Trinity side is going to be a tough ask, we need to be smarter with the ball.

MATT FOWLER

IT was a scruffy, ugly win against Castleford Tigers but a win nonetheless.

The Cup hangover curse looked like it may strike again for large parts of the game but thankfully we sobered up enough to get over the top of a spirited Tigers side.

Against Cas any win will do and it’s probably best not to over-analyse that performance and just rest up.

It is absolutely absurd that these players have a game just three days later.

Player welfare seems to be something we only really talk about.

Even if the season has a new format to contend with for the season finale, the players are playing too many games and on reduced money. They deserve better, Covi-19 crisis or not.

Next up is a rejuvenated Wakefield Trinity, a team doing it really tough but still finding a way and the two recent wins will make this game even tougher.

I expect another scruffy game with two tired teams on show.

These sort of games don’t sell our sport but like always we carry on. Let’s hope we have a play-off series to be proud of.

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