YEP Jury: Return of key players will bolster Leeds Rhinos against ‘dangerous’ Hull KR
Our panel of fans have their say on Leeds Rhinos’ 19-6 defeat to Wigan and look ahead to Friday’s trip to Hull KR.
Another brave performance for our relatively inexperienced side last Thursday saw us lose out to Wigan.
I thought the scoreline flattered Wigan a little and we were well in it at half-time, but we offered very little in attack and made some costly errors when it mattered.
One of my fellow jurors summed it up perfectly last week when he talked about us being gallant losers – it’s all well and good putting in strong performances against the top sides, but it does mean we lose a lot!
We can definitely take a lot of positives from how we’ve been playing recently and I’m sure Richard Agar will have some difficult decisions to make as players start to recover.
From the sounds of it, that could happen this week, with as many as five players likely to be fit for Friday’s fixture with Hull KR.
Hull KR have been involved in some incredibly tight games already this season, but I’ll be hoping Friday isn’t another one!
I’m fairly optimistic about our chances and will be expecting a Rhinos win.
I wrote last week about Leeds being gallant losers and last week as expected they were the most gallant of losers.
A third defeat in a row, and we could be forgiven for thinking things look dark at Leeds, but the performance against Wigan again underlines if you have the forwards you are always in the game.
Leeds’ pack looked great again and ably assisted by some excellent performances in the backs they again lost gallantly.
Even without the harshly suspended Zane Tetevano, the forwards took the game to Wigan. Mikolaj Oledzki, Matt Prior et al stood up to be counted and if it wasn’t for some brilliance by Zak Hardaker and the much more experienced half-backs and backline of Wigan it could have been an even closer scoreline.
Moving on though, there’s talk of up to six missing players could be back for the Hull KR game and after Castleford, St Helens and Wigan defeats a game against Hull KR is most welcome. One of the weakest teams in the competition should succumb to a Leeds team with a buoyant pack and key players coming back into the team.
Losing two big forwards, Zane Tetevano (suspension) and King Vuniyayawa (concussion), when the backs were already so depleted, made the task against Wigan on Thursday even more difficult.
Kyle Eastmond making his Rhinos debut was an added bonus but it was going to be a baptism of fire. Although Wigan also had players missing they had enough class throughout the team to make this a game that made them favourites.
This didn’t, however, stop the Rhinos from putting in another sterling performance and challenging Wigan all the way. Wigan needed the brilliance of Jackson Hastings and Zak Hardaker to overcome a Rhinos team that never stopped trying.
Mikolaj Oledzki played the full 80 minutes and he had a wow of a game. Jack Broadbent impressed again and more youngsters got valuable game time which will benefit them later in the season.
Hull KR are next up and they have had an interesting start, impressing but struggling to win. Both teams will be desperate for the points to get out of the bottom half of the table.
Will we have some players back? Who knows but Leeds need to cut out the mistakes from their game and they could come away with a much-needed win.
It was yet another performance for the young lads to be proud of against Wigan Warriors.
Jack Broadbent, Alex Sutcliffe and Sam Walters are throwing big selection headaches towards Richard Agar and rightly so, the strength in depth helps and the experience they’ve got over the past few weeks will prove vital for the future.
Onwards to Hull KR this week and it’s great to hear that we will have a number of experienced players returning this week in Konrad Hurrell, Ash Handley, King Vuniyayawa, Bodene Thompson and Richie Myler but Liam Sutcliffe misses out.
We’ve been missing the fire power that Hurrell and Handley bring to the game. The big selections for me are full-back, centre and half-back, because Alex Sutcliffe and Broadbent don’t deserve to be missing out.
KR are missing a few big players too, but they’ll be ready for the fight, especially with a number of ex-Leeds players in their ranks, including Ryan Hall.
Fingers crossed that we can get back to winning ways.
They say winning becomes a habit, but unfortunately so does losing. I do hope that when we get back up to full strength that we can be ruthless and finish off games when we need to.
Spirit and commitment was shown in abundance against Wigan, exemplified by James Donaldson’s tackle on Brad Singleton in the last 20 seconds of the match.
Our ‘Polish Piledriver’ Mikolaj Oledzki was yet again sublime, almost 200 metres in Thursday’s match. He is going to be world class if he keeps the same progression path he is on now.
We need him signed up long term, and hope he stays a one-club man.
If we only had one of our half-backs in the last two games I think Saints and Wigan were there for the taking, we just looked so lost on the last play and close to the opposition line was where we floundered.
If we had taken more of our chances we maybe would have won Thursday’s match.
The prodigal son – Ryan Hall returns this week as we face Hull KR. The next few fixtures are ones we should and need to win.
Another brave performance but we were again let down by the lack of a last tackle option. There are of course mitigating factors given the injuries, but it was still not good enough when it came to the final play.
Taking the positives, the crop of youngsters coming through are probably as close to the golden generation that broke through in early 2000s as we have had.
It bodes well for the future and I am impressed with the spirit in very challenging circumstances.
I will again reference the referee who highlighted my pet hate to perfection.
The play-the-ball is frankly a disgrace with virtually 90 percent of players making no attempt to play the ball with their foot.
The one play the ball where Alex Mellor did and he was penalised.
It needs sorting.
The next run of fixtures all look winnable and hopefully some reinforcements will return to help with that.
Hull KR will be dangerous this week as they always are against us, but we need to start winning now. Let’s go.
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