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Why All Doom and Gloom?
Posted by southstander on September 07 2005 - 21:36:06

With three losses on the bounce, Senior out until the play-offs (at the earliest) with a bad ankle, and only three acquisitions against eight departures for next season, anyone would be forgiven for thinking that the Rhinos are a club in crisis.

The doom-mongers have been out in force across the messageboard, the YEP, and the rest of the rugby league media with most convinced that the Rhinos bubble has burst after just one season at the very top of the world game.

But is it really as bad as all that?

I was priviledged to enter a team in Barrie McDermotts' Testimonial Golf Day at Hollins Hall on monday, and caught up with a lot of the first teamers. I left the event, which was won by a collection of bandits captained by Gary Schofield, in far better spirits than I arrived, despite not collecting any prizes. Why such good spirits? Let me explain.

The team spirit and atmosphere between the players was brilliant, similar to the way that the lads were around one another at the Dave Furner/Matt Adamson farewell event last year. There was some larking around and horseplay but all of it good natured, no talk was made of what was passed, but what was to come on the road to Old Trafford.

Whilst the 'hammering' at the hands of the Bulls was embarrassing for us, it was more acutely felt by the lads and the management. Like and similar result (including ones we have inflicted), it was a one-off, and the lads probably had their sights on the Cup Final. The loss the following week was devastating to the supporters and players alike, especially after expectations had been raised so high. But when it boils down to it we went into the game with an unfit Senior, and only two props. We lost, admittedly to the better side, by a solitary point in the closest final for years.

Friday nights loss, the third in a row, to Wigan was also by the narrowst of margins, and consensus is that Ron Laughton got the last minute Poching try decision, which denied us victory, very very wrong. Controller Cummings has tried to cover up, but must be extremely embarrassed by his referees blunder. Having said that, the lads I spoke to said that they should have had the match won well in advance of that point. We were there, or there abouts, against a side that have made great strides against under the coaching of Millward.

The lads, and several of them spoke after the dinner on monday, were all apologetic about the failure to land the Cup and about the loss to Wigan, but were all extremely positive about the play-offs. Realistically the hub-cap has now slipped from our grasp, but believe me, the lads don't want to get as close to a major honour as we did two weekends ago, and not bring the silverware back to Headingley.

I was one of the ones who reacted badly to the loss on friday, a match report full of doom and gloom followed by an article about the last time we lost four on the bounce, ironically with the fourth game being away to Warrington! But we really must put all that behind us now, just like the players have done, and have some belief in our lads pulling out every stop for an Old Trafford Return in October.

It's an old, and perhaps outdated slogan, but...BELIEVE LEEDS!

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