After such a brilliant win last week against Warrington, it was always going to be hard for Leeds to replicate that against the high flying Huddersfield, and they were unable to as the Giants methodically rolled them down field to take a 22-0 lead after half an hour.
Leeds did win the rest of the game 16-8 but ultimately it’s the scoreline that matters and the Rhinos were on the wrong end of a 30-16 scoreline tonight.
After the game, coach Rohan Smith dissected the game and believed that it was moments that let Leeds down rather than the overall performance: “We had a few moments on the end of the line where we had opportunities to get some points. I thought we looked particularly threatening with the ball despite what the score was.
“I thought they went forward a little too easily. Three of tries in the first half were poor reads on the end of the line.
“It comes from trust, when the opposition put their shift plays on it’s a group activity to shut those plays down which starts in the inside.
“They’ve got good ball carriers and an outstanding dummy half. They’re always going to have some decent plays around the ruck, we needed to be better around the ruck.”
“We needed to build a bit of pressure. We didn’t build any pressure in that first half. We had a lot of opportunities but we either didn’t kick finish or finish our set and get into the grind. We had a lot more of that in the second half and looked the better in those passages.
“Quality of our set finishes as much as the right decision, which was made but the quality of our execution let us down.
“A few fundamental errors let us down as much as the overplaying.”
He did have time to praise his bench for the way they helped Leeds back into the game with Leeds clawing back to 22-10 after a rough start. Unfortunately, things got away from the Rhinos but they still did better thanks to the introduction of their subs.
“I thought Dwyer and Prior did well and Walters,” Smith said before summing up the performance, “I actually never thought it was that bad. A few moments that let us down.”
He was also unwilling to look too much into the signs insisting he’ll take it week by week: “As I said last week, that’s how we were tonight. Next week will be a different week.”
There was a return for Harry Newman tonight off the bench and Smith was pleased with how he fared: “Harry’s fine. Dusted off the cobwebs a bit, I thought he looked a bit rusty there. He got through physically and looked sharp. It was the pan to reintegrate him gradually as he’s played part of one game this season.”
A return for Newman, but he could not ameliorate the loss of skipper Kruise Leeming whose absence enabled the Giants to dominate the ruck.
Smith gave an update on his skipper after the match: “Kruise has been ill for a few days. He tried to get moving yesterday but he’s actually a bit worse today than yesterday. He wanted to play but we couldn’t allow him to go out there and we ruled him out late this afternoon.
“I hope he wakes up and feels a bit better.”