Leeds Rhinos’ attacking issues could prove costly in the long-run in 2018 if they don’t become more clinical.
Leeds were involved in another tight game on Sunday as they recorded their first win in three attempts, edging out Hull KR 20-18 at KCOM Craven Park.
However, despite leaving East Yorkshire with the two competition points, the Rhinos made hard work of it again and had their defence- which was excellent- and some controversial refereeing decisions to thank in part at the full-time whistle.
Following the result at the weekend, eight of their last nine games have now been decided by a margin of eight points or less and on only four of those eight occasions have the Rhinos come out as winners, partly due to their inability to create enough chances or take them when they come along.
This has cost Leeds points a number of times in recent weeks. The Champions have lost to Wigan and Hull FC by a single point despite having led at a late stage in both, while rivals Castleford also beat them by a point earlier on in the season.
Huddersfield, who at the time had just sacked Rick Stone and were without several big-name players, were not put to the sword by the Rhinos and held out for an unlikely draw.
And, even in the games that Leeds have managed to win, they have still had to dig deep in order to get themselves over the line.
The wins over St. Helens (by 8 points), Hull FC (by 4 points), Wakefield and Hull KR (both by 2 points) have all gone down to the wire and could easily have gone either way.
Close run games have been the theme of the season for Brian McDermott’s side. Their opening day win at Warrington, although a fine way to start, was another game won by just 4 points and their round 2 win in the reverse fixture with the Rovers was won by 9.
The only exceptions this season have been the 38-4 World Club Challenge defeat to Melbourne Storm, the 23-6 loss at Widnes and the 20-0 success over Salford on Easter Monday, which is currently their biggest win of the campaign.
Read why the Rhinos aren’t clicking on page 2