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Jon Wilkin predicts where Leeds Rhinos will finish this season

Leeds Rhinos Jon Wilkin

For the second time in a row, Leeds Rhinos will be returning from Perpignan after being nilled and the nature of that defeat and previous showings in 2024 has led Jon Wilkin to boldly claim where the club will finish at the end of the season.

It’s been a long time since Leeds Rhinos have been knocking on the door for the League Leaders Shield or even the top three with the club even failing to make the playoffs in 2023.

That is currently where they are tracking with the Rhinos sitting seventh, just two points shy of the playoffs, and only four shy of the top spot given how close the Super League is this season.

Despite those facts, Jon Wilkin has made the claim that Leeds Rhinos will not finish in the playoffs as he cited a number of the areas that the club perform poorly in such as territory, errors and possession.

Working for Sky Sports, Jon Wilkin said: “I think the stats for Leeds Rhinos this season are alarming. I think they’re indicative of a side that’s 7th, 8th or 9th best in the comp.  They conceded way too much territory and get bogged down in their own half.”

That was the tale of the tape in the loss against Steve McNamara’s side with the Rhinos on the wrong end of stats such as possession, completion percentage, completed sets, carries, and metres, all the while having to make more tackles too.

Catalans were able to build on their 8-0 halftime lead to eventually run out as 26-0 winners and Jon Wilkin wasn’t finished with his predictions.

“I don’t get excited” – Jon Wilkin questions star quality in Leeds Rhinos team

Super League pundit Jon Wilkin claims there are major "alarm bells" at Salford Red Devils.

Credit: Imago Images

When it was suggested by fellow pundit John Wells that the Rhinos actually have a strong goal line defence, Jon Wilkin was having none of it.

He reacted sharply: “Their goal-line defence is good because it’s heavily practised because they spend half the game defending there.”

With such a dire performance, it was clear that Wilkin had far more negatives to assess than positives and he made sure to clarify that it wasn’t an “agenda”, but simply a case of him saying what he sees.

To that point, he said: “I think people think I’m overcritical of Leeds and have some sort of agenda. I’m purely observing what I see. They are not a play-off side and they’ve not given me any evidence that they are a play-off team.

“They can get into the playoffs but I would say sixth for them is a great result this year. Above that I believe they’re probably overachieving with the squad that they’ve got.”

A final criticism was aimed at the recruitment side of things because despite Leeds Rhinos having put plenty of money into the squad for 2024 and Gary Hetherington conceding that they’d spent huge to land Brodie Croft and Andy Ackers, Jon Wilkin wasn’t impressed by the squad.

He asked:  “We get all nostalgic and we start reading team sheets out, does the Leeds team sheet excite you? Does it really excite you? That’s my question because I look at it sometimes and I think when Newman’s in there and Brodie Croft’s in there, I get excited. But the team sheet today doesn’t particularly.”

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