A pick through the match reports by the webmaster (and a couple of guests) and pick out some interesting quotes as the season goes along. Maybe I’m a cheat, but is a different kinda season review.
Round 1 - Bradford (n) - 32-28
Leeds had score twenty-two points in the last twenty minutes to beat the old enemy when they had looked dead and buried. It was by no means a vintage Leeds performance but it was a brilliant fight back and two hard earned points.
(Start as you mean to go on eh? Positive that)
Round 2 - Hull FC (a) - 32-18
There were some big Leeds performances, Sinfield, Smith, BJB and Buderus were all sensational and Hauraki looks as though he's a useful addition to the squad. What we need to hope is that the injuries suffered by key players are just knocks and nothing more serious.
(Smith, sensational? You sure?)
Round 3 - Harlequins (h) - 26-36
This wasn't so much a Rhinos side devoid of ideas as a Rhinos side with way too many ideas, all of which were rubbish. We kicked the ball in daft positions and badly, we threw at least four crazy intercept passes, and we failed to muscle up and tackle hard when we needed to. This Leeds side is much better than they showed tonight but all credit to the 'Quins who came here with a game plan, stuck to it, and accepted all the little gifts that the Rhinos offered with open arms. The only good thing that we can take out of the game is that this is one big reality check.
(Oh dear, guess you aren't happy then?)
Round 4 - Warrington (a) - 24-40
I know that the season is not won in March, but we need to be poised in a reasonable position to strike for the top. On the current performances we're going to be in the bottom half of the table.
(Nothing like confidence there eh?)
Round 5 - Salford City Reds (h) - 46-12
It looks like we might have lost BJB to the lengthening injury list and Kirke did well to continue after being knocked-out late in the game, we really do need to start getting some players back quickly. Special mentions tonight for Kallum Watkins who was awesome is stopping two certain first half Reds tries and to the half-backs Sinfield and Burrow who were nothing short of sensational in the second half. That was a lot more like it, bring on the Saints!
(Sucked into a false dawn)
Round 6 - St Helens (h) - 16-30
I appreciate that Gary Hetherington has asked Big Mac to bring back the flair and entertainment but to be honest I would rather we ground out the two points week-in, week-out. This is already looking like a dead-rubber of a season and we can't be losing home games against supposedly weaker opposition. I am sure that some of the moves look unstoppable on the training ground but it only takes 20 to 30% going wrong and we look like a right bunch of numpties. Wakefield away next week, so at least another banker for two points! A loss next week and Mr Hetherington must need to start to consider whether retaining McDermott, or maintaining a winning side is his priority. Big plaudits for Hardaker who had a great debut and Sinfield, Burgess and Webb who tried everything that they had.
(Oh dear, it was all going so well last week)
Round 7 - Wakefield Trinity Wildcats (a) - 28-06
This was not a classic Leeds performance, despite an outstanding individual performance by Watkins, who looked far more comfortable and confident on the wing than he did in the centres last week. Defensively, especially when fielding attacking kicks, we looked to have made huge improvements from last week’s poor effort. However, I can’t help thinking that, despite Wakefield’s kicks being very accurate, they failed to adequately stretch our defence in the previous 5 tackles, meaning we were able to hold a well organised line even on the last. It was also good to see Leuluai back in the side and he and Burgess were our stand out forwards for me. The pie-eaters on Friday will be another prospect altogether! We did show a noticeable improvement on last week’s performance today, but we will have to at least improve by the same again if we are to beat the Champions who will be smarting from this weekend’s home defeat!
(Burgess? You can't be serious)
Round 8 - Wigan Warriors (h) - 22-22
It was a great result and one which I'd have snatched if offered at eight o'clock, but after watching the way we performed for long periods I can't help but be disappointed at the end result. I am sure that we'll take a lot from this game, as will Wigan from their fightback. For sixty-five minutes this was the kind of Leeds I want to see for the rest of the season, and now I'll try and block out the last fifteen....probably with alcohol!
(You are asking for a lot there, the rest of the season? Wait for next week)
Round 9 - Hull KR (a) - 28-38
This was yet another shocking performance against a Hull KR side that haven't been able to buy a win all season. There is something going seriously wrong with our beloved Leeds and it looks like it will take more than just returning players to fix it. And who do we play next week? It's only the league leaders!
(Not good is it? You writing Leeds off here then?)
Round 10 - Huddersfield Giants (h) - 6-38
All credit to the Giants, they played brilliantly and were well supported by a couple of thousand travelling fans. They kept the ball alive superbly, offloaded at every opportunity, crucified us at the play-the-ball, and defended with true grit and determination. They totally deserved the win. But this is a Leeds side with a mountain of problems of Himalayan proportions. We are low on confidence, playing like a bunch of strangers, and still flinging the ball about as though we are winning by fifty points every week but playing in blindfolds with greased hands. It is not at all good to watch; in fact it is absolutely shocking. It can't be the players. Most of these lads have a drawer full of Grand Final winners’ rings. So therefore it must be the coach and his 'expansive' and 'entertaining' rugby. If this is the 'exciting' stuff that he wants the lads to play, well, I'd rather be bored to death and further up the league. Have you seen enough yet Gary? Can you really persevere with a coaching set-up which is delivering this tripe on a weekly basis? Why don't you pick up the phone and bring in someone with at least a half decent track record? I am struggling to see a way back this season and expect another hammering at the Bulls on Thursday. We'll do well to make the top eight playing like this and another appearance at Wembley seems a very long way away. All we can really look forward to is having a crack at the Crusaders a week on Monday afternoon, they are more our level!
(Booooooooooooo, sack the coach (part 1))
Round 11 - Bradford Bulls (a) - 30-22
We got the points and at the end of the day that was all that really mattered. It wasn't particularly pretty, but the defence showed significant signs of improvement and we held onto more ball than we have done in recent games. There was still a basket full of stupid and avoidable penalties but we've got the two points. Crusaders on Monday and rumours that Peacock and McGuire may be back in serious contention. Is that light at the end of the tunnel...or the lights of an oncoming train?
(A famous band once said, There is a light that never goes out)
Round 12 - Crusaders RL (h) - 34-16
In the end the score line flattered the visitors and two of their tries had clear assists from Child. Leeds were their own worst enemy in failing to complete the sets and there was still a bag full of unforced handling errors. It was good to see Danny back and we looked to have more shape and options with him on the field. It's better, but there is still plenty of room for further improvement.
(Not as negative, were you feeling ok?)
Part II to follow tomorrow.
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