Sky Sports pundit Phil Clarke has gone in on Leeds Rhinos following their defeat to Hull FC at Headingley on Friday night.
The Rhinos lost 22-18 to the Airlie Birds, a result which leaves them winless after two rounds.
Rohan Smith’s side were tipped to build on their impressive finish to last season after they stormed to the Super League Grand Final from fifth position.
However that hasn’t happened and despite improving on their woeful 42-10 defeat at Warrington last week, Leeds still fell to defeat at the hands of Tony Smith’s Hull.
It was a frustrating night for the Headingley crowd, with the Rhinos failing to capitalise on numerous try-scoring opportunities in the second half.
After the game, Clarke didn’t hold back in his assessment and even declared that the Rhinos were ‘lucky’ to make it to last season’s showpiece event at Old Trafford.
“They did (have enough chances to beat Hull), but I thought their attack never looked like they were going to break down their opponents – they relied on individual brilliance at times,” said Clarke.
He added: “You know a lot of people said last year that Leeds were lucky to get to that Grand Final and in fact they had a little bit of luck just to even make the playoffs.
“I think it’s fair to say that they overachieved last year, they only had the fifth best defence and the sixth best attack if you look at the season in its entirety.
“Maybe we are expecting too much from Leeds right now.”
In a slightly more positive analysis, Clarke believes the start of the 2023 season has been the best he can remember from the Super League era.
He added: “I can’t remember a better start to a Super League season with everything we’ve had.
“You need games like this with variety, with the controversy and the chances as well that didn’t get scored.
“I think this has been an outstanding start to the 2023 season for the Betfred Super League.”