Third time lucky? Super League’s most successful club Leeds Rhinos endured another season to forget.
For back-to-back seasons this has now occurred, three from the previous four overall as the Rhinos’ eight previous Grand Final titles are starting to become distant memories.
They finished off the season rather dominantly but it was too little too late to make a push for the play-offs, having lost too many games already when battling relegation was still on their minds.
What was once unfamiliar territory for such a huge club is now becoming more common and this something Kevin Sinfield and co still have to rectify.
More of that to follow as we look back at 2019 for Leeds and maybe where things could have gone better.
Best Result: Leeds Rhinos 48-8 Catalans Dragons
Not their heaviest margin but their home win over Catalans Dragons really saw the Rhinos run riot.
Rhyse Martin was the star of the show, slotting home ten goals and scoring a try, half of their total amount on the night.
Ash Handley and Richie Myler managed to bag two tries apiece, with loanee Robert Lui and Luke Briscoe rounding things off late on.
All the Dragons could do was notch a consolation try through Mickael Goudemand, on top of two goals from Tony Gigot on a sorry night for the visitors.
Leeds deserved all the plaudits, producing a complete performance, playing together as a group and in the process, giving their visitors a serious reality check after their defeat of then Challenge Cup finalists Warrington the week before.
Worst Result: Leeds Rhinos 16-18 London Broncos
True, they had much heavier defeats in 2019 but their narrow home defeat to newly promoted London Broncos was a real eye opener.
London led 8-0 at half-time thanks to a try from Jay Pitts and two goals from Kieran Dixon.
The deafening silence that befell Emerald Headingley did peak up as Leeds then responded with three tries through Myler, Trent Merrin and Tom Briscoe plus two goals from Tui Lolohea gave them a 16-8 lead.
However, with just five minutes remaining, the Broncos stunned their hosts as Matty Fozard crashed over before Will Lovell touched down in the dying moments of the game, with Dixon’s late conversion breaking their hearts.
Definitely a night to forget for Leeds, arguably their lowest point of 2019, though they would ultimately have revenge, not only with their away win down in Ealing later in the year, but also surviving relegation at the cost of their visitors.
Main Man: Konrad Hurrell
Let’s face it, who else was it going to be?! Okay, Brad Dwyer and Merrin had good seasons personally but man mountain Konrad Hurrell is the one to look at.
Arguably their biggest signing, he lived up to expectation as he became one of Super League’s most dangerous attackers.
Scoring 14 tries, assisting in seven and managing 138 tackle busts, 20 clean breaks and 2925 metres demonstrated just how potent he was.
Living up to his potential, something Leeds obviously saw considering his status as an international and no doubt plenty more to come from the unit as he continues his career with the club.
Predicted 4th – Finished 8th
Careful what you wish for with this club, you write them off, they can go all the way as they have shown in the past, more than once, but this time it was unfortunately in reverse order.
Many tipped the Rhinos to bounce back from a dismal 2018 season, with several changes at the club, both on and off the field, but they still could not get out of first gear.
In fact, for the majority of the season, they were threatened with relegation, something that ultimately led to former player David Furner getting the sack.
In came interim Richard Agar, who guided them to enough wins to see them safe but what remained was another season where Leeds underachieved.
Maybe some further changes, possibly more so off the field than on it are required should Leeds desire to truly come back as contenders for any form of silverware in 2020.