YEP Jury: Seven-day rest could be key to Leeds Rhinos hopes of revenge at Catalans Dragons

Our fans’ panel look back on Leeds Rhinos’ 26-18 defeat to Catalans Dragons and ahead to Friday’s rematch in Perpignan

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 4:30 pm


Another spirited display but in the end the fixture schedule – and the second-half performance of Catalans Dragons – finally caught up with the Rhinos.

The Luke Gale chance late on in the first half could have made all the difference. Going in at half-time 16 points clear may have given the lads a bit more to cling on to but in the end, we ran out of steam.

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Rhyse Martin goes over to score Leeds Rhinos' opening try against Catalans Dragons last week. Martin will miss the rematch on Friday due to suspension. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Rhyse Martin goes over to score Leeds Rhinos' opening try against Catalans Dragons last week. Martin will miss the rematch on Friday due to suspension. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Thankfully we have a full week to prepare for another crack at the form team. I don’t think we are far off.

A good rest and a few more bodies back could make the difference but winning is all important now.

I will feel more comfortable once we are in the top six. Halfway through the season and we are seventh which is probably about right given our start.

We need to kick on and string some more wins together to climb the ladder.

Luke Gale celebrates with Liam Sutcliffe after scoring Leeds Rhinos' third try against Catalans Dragons. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The win percentage system will muddy the waters if some teams don’t fulfil all their fixtures so winning is all important.

The return of Zane Tetevano and Harry Newman may be the catalyst we need to go on a nice winning run.


Despite our strong start on Friday, it wasn’t enough and we ended up looking well beaten by full time.

Bodene Thompson scores against Catalans. He will miss the trip to France on Friday after picking up a suspension. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

As always, the effort was there until the very end, but I think it was a game too far for a tired Rhinos team.

Whilst it’s not the reason we lost, I thought James Child was poor as referee; I think he realised the sin-binning of Sam Kasiano was a little harsh and tried to make up for it by letting other offences – particularly those from James Maloney – slide in the second half.

Our overall performance on Friday gave me lots of confidence for our chances for this year.

Providing we don’t feel the wrath of Covid again, we look set for a strong finish to the year and play-offs are looking like a definite possibility.

It’s always a difficult ask to go to Perpignan and come away with a win, but a seven-day turnaround could be just what we needed.

If we can play like we did in the first half of last week’s game for the full 80 minutes on Friday night, I could see us edging this one.

Leeds ran out of steam a bit last Friday.

I think the number of games in a short space of time, coupled with injuries, players playing out of position and players coming back in after enforced absences contributed to the second-half display which certainly saw Leeds as second best. The first half, however, showed what potential this team has currently.

Up against the in-form team in the competition, we took the game to Catalans and deservedly led at half-time.

A final note on Friday, I’m not one to complain, but my seats were awful on Friday night, stuck in the far top right-hand corner of the North Stand, thank goodness restrictions are being lifted and we can get back to our normal seats and sit with those people that are used to me shouting and making perfectly valid observations about players, teams, and referees.

We play Catalans again on Friday. I suspect we will see a similar format.

Leeds in France, putting up a brave display for 40 plus minutes, perhaps going into the lead but succumbing towards the end. But, hey I might be wrong and Leeds will put up some Herculean effort.


As expected Friday’s game against Catalans Dragons proved to be a game too far for Leeds Rhinos

You would never have guessed during the first half that some of the Leeds team had played four, or in some cases, five games in 12 days.

The Rhinos took the game to Catalans and scored three tries in the first 40 minutes.

It’s a shame that the game couldn’t have finished at half-time!

Tiredness caught up with the Rhinos players in the second half and Catalans came into the game a lot more.

They had more possession and you guessed that it was only a matter of time before they scored more points.

Three wins from four was better than expected when you consider how Covid and suspensions have taken their toll over the last few weeks.

Now the team have to fly over to France to take on the Dragons again on Friday.

There’s more suspensions for both teams but maybe Leeds can come out on top this time.

It was good to hear that Harry Newman has been given the go ahead to get back to full training.


Did we run out of steam in the second stanza, or was it bad decision making by a few experienced heads jumping out of the defensive line, or was it the decision making by the bloke in the middle with the whistle?

I think it was a combination of all the above. We ask year on year for the referees to be consistent, week in week out and being a professional organisation we don’t seem to be able to have that level.

The game before, Liam Sutcliffe was given 10 minutes in the sin-bin and yet Catalans made the same type of tackles but they were missed or penalties not given.

So many forward passes are missed by the touchline flag wavers,

I do wonder what they actually do in the match.

Griping aside, we looked to tire in the last 20 minutes, which was not surprising as we have had four games in the last two weeks.

In such a physical sport as ours, it ultimately takes its toll.

A trip to France this week, maybe we can get our own back and beat the French in their own backyard.


Taking on Catalans Dragons was always going to be tough with a number of our players playing their fifth game in 11 days.

The lads showed what they were capable of in the first half, but could not get over the line in the second.

I think they just didn’t have enough left in the tank and that’s understandable.

It was good to have a few players back this week too.

On Friday we play our rearranged game against Catalans in France, it’s going to be tough again for the lads, especially with Bodene Thompson and Rhyse Martin being out due to suspension, but hopefully the team can come home with the two points.

The tough thing about this is the players having to go into five days isolation when they return, then having a few days before playing Salford Red Devils in front of a full Headingley stadium.

It’s Challenge Cup final weekend and I hope that Castleford and St Helens enjoy the big day.

It will be great to see Wembley with 40,000 rugby league supporters.

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