The 1996 season, under the coaching of Dean Bell will stick in many Leeds fans memory as one of the very worst. In a season in which we used thirty-nine players, won just six of the twenty-two matches, and shipped in an average of thirty-four points a game, we finished third bottom one place above Paris.|
The four back-to-back came in July/August when the opposition was Saints, Oldham, Sheffield and London. We turned it round with a 34-12 win at home to Paris before two more losses to Bradford and Wigan.
I have every confidence that the lads can stop the rot against Wakefield on Friday night, but if they don't then we'll be breaking another of Dean Bells unwanted 1996 records, the 'five losses on the trot'.
The five occurred in March/April 1996 and were to Bradford, Warrington, Castleford, Saints and Oldham. This run ended with a 36-22 home win over Sheffield Eagles before another loss against London the following week. Will Bradford, Hull, Wigan, Warrington and Wakefield equal this?
If we do lose to Wakefield, not that I wish to be overly pessimistic, then we travel to Saints for the first Grand Final Play-off game with a chance to make it six games without a win, which would really be charting new territory.
In 1993-4 we managed seven games without a win under the coaching of Doug Laughton, but the second of this sequence was a draw (against Hull FC) so only five of the losses were consecutive. In 1986-7 we had a run of nine games without a win, but there were two draws in this sequence with four losses back-to-back being the worst run.
The last time that Leeds lost six consecutive games was in the 1959-60 season when August and September saw losses to Halifax, Wakefield, Saints, Huddersfield, Wigan and Hull KR before registering a win in the seventh game by 16-15 at home to Bradford.
In summary, a loss on friday will be Leeds worst losing streak for almost ten years, but if we back that up with a loss at Saints in the play-off it will equal a forty-five year old record. And all this as Superleague and World Champions, unthinkable just a month ago!
If you were thinking of staying away from Headingley on friday night as 'there is nothing to play for' well think again. We need to have every supporter possible there, cheering on the lads and helping them get back to winnning ways. After last seasons record-breaking, thislosing streak is one that we must end.