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AWFUL RHINOS SLUMP TO NEW LOWS


200th GAME FOR LEEDS

By Shamoon Hafez
April 27 2009

An evening of celebration turned into an evening of frustration as Harlequins inflicted another defeat on the Rhinos. Prior to the match, the 1999 Challenge Cup winning team were paraded on the field, for the 10-year anniversary of the occasion. Captain on that day, Iestyn Harris, was booed by the crowd on his introduction, and this set the trend for the game.

The boo-boys were out in force at Headingley as the champions suffered a successive home defeat, this time at the hands of Harlequins.

 

Coach Brian McClennan, though, maintains that he heard nothing at the final whistle.

 

“I’d heard nothing. I’d come back in to see the players to keep things in perspective and concentrate on what we can do and not look at peripheral things,” he said.

 

But he did admit that the fans have a right to vent their frustration in whatever way they feel.

 

“They pay their hard-earned money to come here and whether they want to boo or cheer is up to the spectators,” said Bluey.

 

Rob Burrow’s try a minute from time saved Leeds from being nilled at home for the first time since 1992.

 

This after two tries from Harlequins centre David Howell, another from Randall and nine-points from the boot of captain Rob Purdham, who led the Londoners to a deserved victory.

 

The Rhinos, on the other hand, were simple dreadful.

 

No cohesion in attack and poor kicking meant they were unable to sustain any sort of threat to the Quins’ defence, something which was evident against Salford as well.

 

Danny McGuire, who made his 200th appearance for the club in the game, summed up his emotions.

 

“I’m delighted to have notched up this many games for the club, but it could have gone a lot better.

 

“Quins were dominant in the ruck and we were unable to find a way around their defence but full credit to them for their performance,” said the number six.

 

With the next game coming in the Magic Weekend in Scotland, McGuire feels it is an ideal opportunity to get back on track.

 

“The game in Edinburgh gives us a chance to get away for a day or two but also be able to stick together in these difficult times by not pointing fingers at one another,” he said.

 

Three defeats in four games has led to questions being asked as to why Leeds are going through such a lean spell.

 

Maybe the exertions of the past two seasons is beginning to take its toll on the players?

 

Maybe the dressing room has becoming divided for some reason and there is disharmony within it?

 

But the stand-off dismissed this notion by saying: “Everyone is disappointed but there is no finger pointing. You have to look at yourself before complaining about others.”

 

The trip up to Murrayfield for the match against the Catalans Dragons is a must win for Leeds, if they are to stay within touching distance of leaders St Helens.

 

One thing is for sure; everyone is feeling the heat to not give a repeat performance, which was described by Bluey as “the lowest point in the season so far.”

 

Roll on Scotland!

 

Shamoon Hafez

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