Featherstone Rovers 22 – 30 Leeds Rhinos: Player ratings and major talking points

In the cold at the Millennium Stadium, both Featherstone and Leeds took major strides towards a positive 2022. Featherstone may have lost but the Rovers showed they can compete with a top Super League side especially in the first half against a near full strength Leeds side. The Rhinos led 18-6 at the break after showing some glimpses of the attacking potential afforded by Aidan Sezer and co. Then in the second stanza Leeds’ youngsters shone as Richard Agar changed almost his entire side. There’s quite a few stars of the future in the Rhinos’ ranks and they crossed for a further two tries.

1. Myler still the man for the Rhinos

In that first half it became apparent that Richie Myler is still a key player for the Rhinos. He played a part in all three of Leeds’ first half tries but curiously none of the three scores involved him out the back like you’d expect from a number one especially when you consider the way he’s played the role over the last two seasons. Instead, he created two tries from first receiver sharing the role with Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer with all three willing to swap positions throughout the first half in terms of where they received the ball and it worked wonders with Blake Austin displaying his brilliant running game at times. With worries still surrounding the fitness of Jack Walker, Myler is going to keep a hold of the fullback role going into the new season and if he keeps up this form Walker will have a difficult task taking it from him.

2. Positive signs for Rovers

In the first half, the Rovers could’ve been forgiven if they’d have been blown away. Against a virtually full strength Rhinos side with a pack complete with England internationals Kruise Leeming and Mikolaj Oledzki, the Rovers made life difficult for the Rhinos. Their pack stood up with Jack Bussey even scoring whilst Jesse Sene-Lefao made a good first impression with some big hits and charging runs. To stand up against a brilliant Leeds pack and to keep the first team Rhinos to just 18 points in the first half shows the quality in Brian McDermott’s squad. We could soon see the Rovers in Super League if they take the positives from today into the new season.

3. Rhinos can rely on youngsters

If 2021 showed us anything, it’s that Leeds can turn to their youngsters in a time of crisis and still challenge at the top. After all they got as far as the semi-finals last year despite an injury hit season. Today, however, showed that they can continue to trust the stars of the future who simply seem to be growing in number. Liam Tindall crossed for the Rhinos, Morgan Gannon got an assist in the first half whilst Sam Walters scored in the second period as Leeds’ young side matched the Rovers in the second 40. Debutants Mackenzie Turner and Oli Field didn’t look out of place with the latter grabbing an assist and linking well in the halves with fellow youngster Jack Sinfield who again impressed with the boot. A halfback pairing for the future? Perhaps.

Featherstone Rovers

4 Craig Hall – 8
2 Luke Briscoe – 7
18 Josh Hardcastle – 7
17 Ben Hellewell – 8
5 Gareth Gale – 8
6 Tom Holmes – 7
20 Morgan Smith – 6
8 Craig Kopczak – 7
14 Matty Wildie – 7
10 James Lockwood – 6
16 Junior Moors – 7
12 Jesse Sene-Lefao – 7
13 Jack Bussey – 7
9 Connor Jones – 6
15 John Davies – 7
22 Kyle Trout – 6
11 Brett Ferres – 6
21 Luke Cooper – 7
19 Callum Field – 6
25 Bayley Gill – 7
23 Loui McConnell – 6

Leeds Rhinos

16 Richie Myler – 8
5 Liam Tindall – 7
20 Tom Briscoe – 8
3 Harry Newman – 8
23 Jack Broadbent – 7
6 Blake Austin – 8
7 Aidan Sezer – 7
8 Mikolaj Oledzki – 6
9 Kruise Leeming – 7
13 Zane Tetevano – 6
21 Morgan Gannon – 7
12 Rhyse Martin – 6
17 Cameron Smith – 8
28 Max Simpson – 6
25 Levi Edwards – 6
1 Mackenzie Turner – 6
31 Oli Field – 7
32 Jack Sinfield – 6
18 Tom Holroyd – 6
14 Brad Dwyer – 7
19 Bodene Thompson – 7
15 Alex Mellor – 7
22 Sam Walters – 6
24 Jarrod O’Connor – 6
11 Muizz Mustapha – 6

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