YEP Jury: Return of familiar faces could be key to Leeds Rhinos getting back on track
Our panel of fans look ahead to Leeds Rhinos’ Betfred Super League match at home to Salford Red Devils on Saturday.
Salford Red Devils at the Halliwell Jones Stadium are next up for the Rhinos.
Earlier in the season Leeds Rhinos came out 22-8 winners but the game is now very different. Ian Watson seems to be able to get the best out of his players no matter the make up of his team.
There is a slight chance that Jack Walker could be back for the Rhinos which will give Ash Handley the chance to get back out on the wing where he links up well with Konrad Hurrell.
Richie Myler and Rob Lui could also be back in contention, although Cameron Smith will be missing with a broken jaw.
According to Richard Agar the players have adapted their training to take account of how the game has changed with the new rules – more tackling, ball in play for longer and the game much faster.
Let’s hope the Rhinos can stop giving away so many penalties and dropping so much ball.
The players need to learn that you can’t score points without the ball! Leeds might then gettheir second win after the restart.
Leeds have had two weeks to review their re-start performances since lockdown. I’m pretty sure it will have highlighted a fair few things to work on.
I may sound like a broken record, but discipline and silly errors are the standout areas for me.
The game is now so fast any indiscretion is magnified and controlling the ruck has become the key, something we are not mastering at the moment. I hope the two weeks off has given us time to fix this up.
Salford Red Devils have had even more time off and will be well rested but could also be a little rusty.
Their last performance was very impressive and looked back to where they were last season when they went on that epic run to the Grand Final.
As always, I expect us to win. I think we need to win, not only to put points on the board, but to regain some much-needed confidence.
It will also be a test of Richard Agar’s coaching credentials. In the time off has he found a winning formula?
We will see this weekend, let’s go.
What to expect this week? Hopefully the week off has given us the chance to build on some of the improvements, albeit small ones, and start to build a bit of the fabled momentum.
Salford Red Devils won’t have played for three weeks and will probably have only a couple of training sessions under their belts due to the negative Covid tests from their game with Hull FC.
I am hoping that we cut down on the cheap penalties and improve on the last tackle options. There was some disappointing news this week from HQ in that Cameron Smith has sustained a broken jaw in training that will keep him out for a few weeks.
Although he will be a big miss there are rumours that we might have some bodies back to compensate.
Last weekend saw the Challenge Cup limp back onto the radar with a reduced sixth round.
This hopefully gave our game a welcome boost on the national media, though it is somewhat low-key until the perceived big guns get going in the next round.
So after a week off for Leeds Rhinos, we now play Salford Red Devils.
The week off will have hopefully given Leeds the chance to practice on both defence and attack, as we look a totally different team especially in our last two games.
Before lockdown Leeds were playing as a team and were excellent in both attack and defence.
Yes, we’ve had key men missing due to injuries, however I will never use injuries as an excuse as the players who are chosen to play in their places are trusted to do their jobs both individually and collectively as a team.
It has definitely highlighted the ones who aren’t up to the task and they should consider themselves extremely lucky to be wearing the jerseys. I fear yet another defeat for Leeds is on the cards.
Just a note on a way of further preventing coronavirus spreading between players – players should stop spitting.
It’s disgusting to see and a ban should be enforced by the powers that be. You are all in a working environment, so stop doing it!
A couple of things happened in the week off. The RFL made themselves look foolish a number of times in terms of backdated suspensions for players breaching Covid rules and they got yet another sponsorship which doesn’t include any income at all, apart from pizzas.
I don’t know how they do it, but they always bring embarrassment to the sport.
Ahead of this game this week against Salford Red Devils, it looks as though we are getting a few back in – Jack Walker and Richie Myler – but unfortunately we have lost arguably our best player this year, Cameron Smith due to a broken jaw picked up in training.
Hopefully he will be back sooner rather than later.
I’m expecting it to be tough game against Salford, with players like Tui Lolohea and Niall Evalds on form.
For me we have to turn a corner from last two losses against Wigan and St Helens and it has to be this week, if not, we could see the sides at the top pull away from us and open up a gap that we might struggle to close which would put some real pressure on ourselves.
Before I get to preview our next game with Salford Red Devils, please just indulge me in a rant, aimed squarely at the at the RFL and the stupidity of the players breaking club Covid rules.
We must be the only sport than can do a deal with a big brand name and get no money injected into the game, but get loads of free pizza!
The outbreak at Hull a few weeks ago was national news and was a worry for the sport and then this week, three reckless players just please themselves, get caught and get a ban for games already played.
You really can’t make up the amateurish way we are run.
After a few weeks off we are back in action against Salford Red Devils, a team that’s more used to battling in the league than we are and have caused many an upset in the last few years.
Four months ago I would have put my house on us getting two points, but certainly not now.
I do hope the coaches and more so the players have been working to greatly improve on the recent performances.