Round 13 - Castleford Tigers (a) - 48-06
In terms of an all-round performance, this was probably the Rhinos best of the season so far. Defence was solid, mistakes were at a minimum, and we didn't give away too many daft penalties. Peacock put in a decent enough return but looked a little off the pace and Danny McGuire is back and playing as though he's never been away. Three wins on the trot. Happy times.
(Amazing was a couple of wins can do for the confidence)
CC Round 4 - Crusaders RL (h) - 34-16
We'd been handed the toughest of all the 2011 fourth round draws and came through it to go into the hat for the next round. But the cost could be a high one with Webb, McGuire and Clarkson all looking to pick up injuries which could see them out of several rounds of Super League. The remaining Leeds players all dug deep, Peacock was on the field for seventy-four minutes and Leuluai and Burgess ran their blood to water. Sinfield was brilliant with the boot and Burrow and McShane a pleasure to watch. It was a great game from the Leeds forwards and despite the Crusaders coming to lay-on in the tackle we kept our good momentum and eased out a victory which was a little harder than it should have been.
(Tough draw? Are you having a bubble? They were bottom of the league ffs)
Round 14 - Catalans Dragons (h) - 30-06
In the end the score line reflected the Rhinos dominance but for seventy minutes the Dragons really made a game of it. You could hear the Tigers bubble bursting from Headingley as they went down to a big nilling at Warrington and the Rhinos lifted themselves to fifth in Super League. The Rhinos ground out the first half with solid defence and more than a modicum of patience. In the second half the gaps started to appear as the exhausted Dragons paid the price for intensive first half defence. Big commendations for Sinfield who was in everything, Burrow who buzzed around the Dragons like a hornet and Brett Delaney who had one of the best games that I've seen him have in Rhinos colours. Oh, and don't forget the pack, they were awesome in defence with a collection of the biggest hits we've seen all season.
(Makes a change for you to sound happy)
CC Round 5 - Harlequins RL (h) - 40-20
In the end it was a comfortable 40-20 win for the home side and another victory under the belt with the early season ghosts exorcised. We lost Senior with a few minutes left to what looked like a hamstring strain, although we'll leave that for the experts to determine. There were some half decent performances from the likes of Hardaker, Hall, Buderus, Leuluai, Ali and Sinfield, but still far too many daft mistakes including four knock-ons at the play-the-ball. It won't be good enough next week against Warrington, they'll muller us. Still...job done, round six, here we come.
(Can I have six numbers for weekend please?)
Round 15 - Warrington Wolves (h) - 06-42
But this was a game of many unfathomables;
1. If McGuire, Burrow and Sinfield were all fit, then why didn't they all start?
2. Why was such an inept referee given the big game of the weekend when he so obviously isn't up to Super League standard?
3. How were we behind at half-time after we totally dominated the first half?
4. Why did it take sixty-five minutes for McDermott to introduce Burrow?
5. How can we play so well in the first half and so badly in the second?
6. When will we get through a game without giving away one stupid penalty, let alone the five idiotic ones which we did tonight?
7. Why does a stronger team on paper get a bigger hammering that the weaker side we took to Warrington earlier in the season?
8. What has Clarkson done wrong?
9. What has McShane done wrong?
10. When are we going to de-register Senior and buy a centre who can tackle?
All credit to the Wolves, they are the best side I have seen this season and they defended brilliantly and attacked with flair. I remember those days at Headingley, who was the coach then...oh yeah...Tony Smith!
(Wow, you were upset this night weren't you? YOTW2011!)
Round 16 - St Helens (a) - 16-42
Forget the late Leeds flourish, this was awful, truly abominable. If Brian McDermott has any credibility left, and I fear he has little, then he needs to get this shower of has-beens to buck up their ideas in defence and learn to keep their mouths shut. The discipline is terrible, the defence worse, and the respect for the ball pitiful. There were few bright points in this game tonight and it is one I'd rather forget, quickly. There is patently no plan 'B', and I doubt that there is even a plan 'A'. League season over, time to get rid of the coaching muppets, clear out some of the dead wood, and use the rest of the season to build for 2012.
(Boooooooooooo, sack the coach (part 2))
Round 17 - Hull KR (h) - 44-14
The Rhinos had every excuse if their patchy home record in 2011 had continued, five men out of Exile, torrential rain throughout the contest favouring a disciplined kicking game - their opponents having arguably the best exponent in their ranks - and facing a side coming off a morale boosting derby win, whose players had no such international distractions. Instead, Brian McDermott’s men came up with their most comprehensive performance of the campaign, running in eight tries, three of them to England winger Ryan Hall to prevent Rovers registering a fourth successive victory against them. The hosts dominated field position, Kevin Sinfield back at loose forward, deadly with his pinning kicks particularly in an all-encompassing second period.
(Soon forgot you wanted the coach out last week)
Round 18 - Crusaders RL (a) - 12-07
Take nothing away from the Crusaders, their defence was excellent, and despite the Rhinos getting every 50-50 decision from an unusually generous Thaler they almost held on for a famous victory. But Leeds were as awful as the Crusaders were good. This was simply not good enough for a team with aspirations for top four, in the end the best side on the night lost, and we got very, very lucky. Delaney had a shocker, everyone now knows how to play Burrow, and some of the positional stuff from Sinfield left a lot to be desired. It was a happier journey home than it looked as though it was going to be with twelve minutes left, but there was still a strong feeling of dissatisfaction. One thing is for sure, the South Stand won't put up with that if they get served it again next week against the Bulls.
(Why not call for the coaches head here then?)
Round 19 - Bradford Bulls (h) - 12-18
Where is there now for Leeds? In my opinion there is nowhere. This is the worst performing Leeds side that I have seen since the Dean Bell era and I am afraid that there is just no light at the end of the tunnel. Next up...the Champions in Wigan next Friday night in-front of the nations armchair supporters. Now that is going to be embarrassing! So in the gutter we are, and in the gutter we'll stay. We seem happy here, and even court jester Darth Hetherington doesn't seem interested in getting us any respectability and credibility. So please pass me another rotten cabbage.....
(Booooooooooooooooooo, sack the coach (Part 3))
Round 20 - Wigan Warriors (a) - 24-26
Brian McDermott got what he wanted, a massive Leeds improvement in performance, and the loss that he'd suggested. While he might be satisfied, as supporters we are definitely not. You go into a game with a losing attitude and you vastly reduce your chances of winning. In the end we were hard done-by with a couple of decisions. Leaving Sam Tomkins on the field after his professional foul in the first half was refereeing cowardice, and how Alibert missed the Richards try forward pass at the start of the second half is beyond belief. I'm gutted that we lost, and the lads looked shell-shocked at the end. But this is the kind of performance that we need to take with us into the rest of the games this season. At least then we'd be able to hold our heads high when we finish the season trophy less.
(Change of tune again, sound confident again)
Round 21 - Catalans Dragons (a) - 18-38
It seems that this is good enough for the Rhinos Chief Executive and coaching staff but it isn't for those of us who hold this club in our hearts. Our club is an embarrassment, the laughing stock of the Super League, we're even behind the Castleford Tigers for goodness sake. Mr Hetherington, this is a plea from the heart. Our 2011 is over, write it off, and make the changes now so that we don't have to suffer this tripe again next season. If you leave these two muppets in charge for the rest of the year then expect a serious crash in season ticket sales for next year.
(Boooooooooooooo, sack the coach (Part 4))
Round 22 - Hull FC (h) - 20-00
It was a performance which would have seen us lose to most sides currently above us in the table and any side who could hold on to the ball when they had possession would have given us a much sterner test. Leeds had a couple of stinkers tonight, most noticeably from Jamie Peacock who dropped the ball twice without any pressure and put in three bad high tackles. This truly was a mid-table slug-fest and not one for the purists, but in the end we've got the two points in the bag and it has lifted us up a couple of places in Super League, at least until Castleford play tomorrow night. A cautious thumbs up, but there is still a massive gulf between where we are and where we need to be.
(Jeez, you're a touchy one to please lol)
Part III to follow tomorrow.
Think you can do better? - Send your season review to firstname.lastname@example.org .