YEP Jury: Same old mistakes as Leeds Rhinos prove their own worst enemy yet again
Our panel of fans look back at Leeds Rhinos’ West Yorkshire derby defeat to Castleford and look ahead to Friday’s trip to Leigh Centurions.
Without taking anything away from Cas, who defended very well, we were our own worst enemy for most of Friday’s game – a theme for the season, unfortunately.
We had so much possession in the opening quarter, and not only did we fail to register a point in that time, we let Castleford score the first time they were in our half. I’m sure I wasn’t the only Rhino who saw that try coming – classic Leeds!
A small observation – the amount of time-wasting that I witnessed on Friday was, quite honestly, ridiculous. Players feigning injury or kicking the ball away should be penalised.
Regardless of whether or not the clock is stopped, it slows the game down and spoils things. I’m sure a team warning or potential sin-binning for repeat offenders would soon stamp it out.
Anyway, rant over and on to Leigh on Friday. Wouldn’t it be typical for them to get their first win against us?
They put up a very good fight against Hull KR at the weekend, so we’ll need to be wary, and much better if we’re to avoid an embarrassing defeat.
While last Friday’s result against Castleford Tigers was disappointing it was not necessarily unexpected.
Four games in 14 days is not ideal. Add injuries, suspensions and Covid into the mix and it’s no wonder the players look tired and out of sorts.
Some players are constantly playing out of position and some players are having to play the full 80 minutes as the interchange bench changes during the game.
This isn’t good for the players or for the game but it is what it is. The priority this year is to get the season completed so that the players can rest up and be ready for next year when hopefully the situation will have improved and things can get back to whatever normal is now going to be.
The news last week that the World Cup is going to be postponed to next year was disappointing but inevitable. I don’t envy Jon Dutton for having to make that decision.
The Rhinos travel to Leigh on Friday and while the Centurions haven’t yet won a game they will be no pushovers.
It is a game however that the Rhinos should win comfortably.
Disappointing is the one word to sum up last week’s game against Castleford Tigers.
Unsurprisingly Castleford put out a near full strength side after playing kids and reserves for what seems like weeks on end and it showed with a confident display from the visitors.
Leeds lacked leaders for me. Luke Gale was suspended, Matt Prior struck down by Covid and Mikolaz Oledzki missing didn’t help either.
King Vuniyayawa going off injured, despite the fact he offers very little, meant we were a body short and again that showed.
The Blake Austin signing is promising as Leeds certainly have a feel of a team who don’t know how to see out a game and perhaps he can offer the game management the team have lacked since Kevin Sinfield left, but hopefully that will change.
It’s Leigh Centurions on Friday... they’ve played 15 lost 15.
I said last time it would be typical of Leeds to hand Leigh their first victory but as it turned out they were as bad as their record suggests.
Let’s hope it’s not 16th time lucky for Leigh.
It’s hard to decide what was most disappointing from last Friday’s defeat, was it the abject display we showed on the pitch, or the fact that it was a Friday night at home, against a bitter local rival and there was only just 10,000 inside.
Matt Prior and Mikolaj Oledzki were a massive miss and by the sounds of it, it might be a while before we see both back in the blue and amber, which is a huge setback as they were giving us a great platform to build pressure on opposing sides this season.
With Luke Gale being suspended we looked lost and ineffective in attack.
Now, I know that the coach can’t plan for poor defence and dropping the ball, but knowing what players were going to be missing he should be up to reworking a game plan to at least compete in games, and we don’t seem to have that at all.
I do think it’s very much time for a change at the top now.
As omens go, playing the bottom-of-the-table, winless club – Leigh Centurions – on Friday the 13th, doesn’t bode well, but hopefully with Gale back from suspension we might be more effective.
I’m getting tired writing about our poor decision-making, handling and discipline but here we are again after another defeat that could and should have been a victory.
The players who took to the field were more than capable of winning last week but instead gifted virtually every point Castleford scored. Like Warrington the week before, our own game management let us down. Why?
What are we doing, or more importantly, not doing on the training ground that allows these same mistakes to be repeated?
Are the players simply not good enough to execute a game plan? Are the game plans any good?
Is the management team lacking the ability to communicate a good game plan? Looking at last week’s last tackle options I am concerned it may be all the above.
This is not a one-off problem; it is embedded in the way we play at present.
Our next four games against Leigh, Huddersfield, Wigan and Wakefield will define our season.
The play-offs are possible, but we won’t go very far in them if we cannot get to grips with our game management frailties.
It was yet another disappointing loss against Castleford Tigers last Friday night.
The performance as a whole was just not what we expect from the club and we really missed Mikolaj Oledzki, Matt Prior and Luke Gale.
It would be nice to have one of our two props back but I expect this isn’t going to happen this week with Prior being out due to Covid and Oledzki having an operation.
I think this shows to me that we need another prop forward for 2022 to take the weight off these two.
It’s gutting to lose another player for the season with Oledzki and the injury to his foot, hopefully he will come back as good as he was earlier in the season.
It’s also great to hear that future Leeds Rhinos star James Bentley returns to play this week for St Helens, hopefully he gets some form together before he makes the move across to Yorkshire.
Onwards to Leigh Centurions on Friday, they were unlucky last week in their narrow defeat to Hull KR and they’ll certainly come out fighting but hopefully the lads can get the two points.
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