Connect with us

Leeds Rhinos

“Never looked like winning” – Leeds Rhinos slammed by England captain

Leeds Rhinos

England captain Jodie Cunningham has queried one of the reasons that Rohan Smith offered up to explain Leeds Rhinos’ 34-8 defeat to Warrington Wolves.

Leeds Rhinos actually scored first in the contest with Harry Newman rising highest to claim Matt Frawley’s kick with the score coming during one of Leeds’ first ventures into Warrington’s 20.

Wire hit back with three before the break and all were far too easy with Matty Nicholson hitting a crash ball, George Williams darting through and then Joe Bullock also powering over to make it 16-4 heading into the half.

Boos could be heard around Headingley as the team went into the sheds but the Rhinos did hit back first through Luis Roberts, however, errors were punished and that saw Warrington run in three tries in the final 15 minutes to cement a convincing victory and condemn the Rhinos to a third straight home loss.

Moments of contention did include Paul Momorovski’s overturned try but the video referee rightly ruled it out for double movement, whilst early injuries to Ash Handley (rib) and Tom Holroyd (HIA) left Rohan Smith operating a 15-man squad for an hour of the game.

Speaking to Sky Sports following the defeat, Smith accepted that the Rhinos were “beaten in all facets” but was keen to note the two injury blows as major factors in the defeat.

He explained: “You lose one of the form players in the competition, and a winger at that, early in the game. That’s tough and you lose one of your starting calibre front rowers.”

Why did Leeds Rhinos lose?

Credit: Imago Images

St Helens and England captain Jodie Cunningham was having none of that though, stating: “He talked about Ash Handley but Ash Hanley can’t defend all over the field and they were poor in most areas defensively and that’s not what we’ve seen from Leeds so far this season.

“Look, if you’re not going to defend it doesn’t matter what you do with the ball because they just never looked like winning today.”

Fellow former England captain Sam Tomkins agreed, arguing: “I don’t think Ash Handley would have scored 26 points if he’d stayed on the field and won them the game but what Leeds needed tonight was that purple patch that we see very often from them.

“They needed that 20 minutes spell where they’re pretty hard to stop from any area of the field. One man who plays a big part in that is Ash Handley, so it would have been much harder without him on the field, but I don’t think he was the reason they lost tonight.”

Plenty of fans were questioning the tactics that the club used, particularly the short drop-outs, but one former Leeds Rhinos star went further and said that it was Rohan Smith’s system to blame.

Blake Austin was seemingly exiled from Headingley late last year when he was loaned out to Castleford Tigers and was allowed to leave off contract despite being one of the Rhinos’ better performers.

He took to social media to voice his opinion on the current woes that the Rhinos are suffering, labelling replacement Brodie Croft as “largely unsighted”.

The Rhinos will have a week too recuperate before facing Huddersfield Giants in what will be a massive game as Leeds look to avoid a fourth consecutive Headingley defeat.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Paul Foster

    April 6, 2024 at 3:28 pm

    I must admit I never have confidence in Leeds playing well for the full 80 minutes of a game anymore they may put together a good half like they did against saints but are just unable to be consistent and I have to admit don’t think Rohan smith is taking us in the right direction ???

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Must See

More in Leeds Rhinos