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Hookers Tue Jan 19, 2021 8:44 am  
MillennialRhino Stevo's Armpit

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Hi all. Long-time reader, first-time commenter. Asking about something that has often bugged me.

Ever since becoming more committed/sentient as a rhinos fan, hooker has always seemed to be a constant weakness for Leeds (it may have been fine before my time and/or back in my earlier years, but I didn’t pay as much attention back then and probably didn’t really notice Buderus or Diskin that much. Lunt seemed ideal but had to go back to Hudds after his loan year. Burrow was great impact hooker but was clearly not a specialist nor a traditional option. Parcel was also good addition for a while but not sure what happened there (and I can’t remember who was 2nd hooker with him). Plus a string of seemingly disappointing or unsettled overseas signings, and a number of youngsters who seemed relied upon too early and/or not given long enough to build)

Now, I have a real soft spot for Dwyer, and with the addition of Leeming we now seem to have two proper decent 1st team specialist hookers for the first time since I can remember. Both English and hopefully well-settled too, which should be a big plus for retention and future-proofing.

So, now that we are in a period of relative riches in terms of hooker potential, maybe we can reflect a bit more on the darker ages:

Any thoughts on any of the following?
Q1. Why did we struggle so much for so long at hooker?

Q2. Why did we get keep on getting rid of our youngsters when we had them and potentially there could’ve been an argument for keeping hold rather than getting rid without replacement? (E.g. McShane, Hood, others I can’t remember)

Q3. :wink: Did we keep on winning trophies DESPITE our hooker difficulties or BECAUSE of our hooker difficulties? Is the common theory that hooker is one of the most important positions on the field actually unfounded? Does the rhinos’ golden decade prove that hookers are in fact one of the least important positions on the field? :wink:

Q4. And finally, am I completely misremembering the last couple of decades? Apologies if so, I’ve been a little preoccupied….
Re: Hookers Tue Jan 19, 2021 12:25 pm  
The Ghost of '99 User avatar
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McShane was the designated future hooker. He needed to develop, in some areas quite a bit, but in his case in particular I hold Brian McDermott largely responsible for that not working out.
After Buderus left McShane should have been given the role full time - and he did get the number 9 shirt - but McDermott never seemed to fully trust him so we often had Burrow starting at hooker rather than on the bench (a nonesense use of both players strengths) and then Lunt came in and we even saw Sinfield play there sometimes.

For whatever reason Powell has been able to get at something which McDermott couldn't and that is a great shame given the revolving door the starting hooker position has been since Buderus left.
"Brian McDermott, with a wry smile, nods when asked if he remembers a specific incident which made him realise he was a prick. 'I do', he murmurs."
Re: Hookers Tue Jan 19, 2021 2:50 pm  

User avatarhomme vaste wrote:
homme vaste User avatar
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Re the question on Hooker been one of the most important positions on the field, IMO I think that is wholly dependant on the job the hooker is asked to do in his team, some are asked to provide the team with another dimension to there attack to take pressure off the pivots, others are asked to provide a decent pass off the floor and tackle hard down the middle, some are even asked to control the game i.e. Cam Smith.

I think Leeds over the last 10/15 years have been blessed with some great play makers, that then frees the hooking role up to be anything that adds value (Beyond the basics of a 9) to the threat that is already there at the coaches discretion, maybe since you have lost those special players that can really control a game over the last 4/5 years you have noticed the lack of real quality at 9?
Re: Hookers Tue Jan 19, 2021 3:00 pm  

User avatarDHM wrote:
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Aiton was a very good signing and he worked really well with that team in 2015. We really struggled when he broke his arm and almost ran out of gas that season. Almost.

Not had a lot of luck with 9's for while, for various reasons it's just not worked out for a lot of guys. McShane, Lunt, Aiton, Baffoon/Balloon (whatever the f his name was), Segeyaro. Clubs been trying.
"Well, I think in Rugby League if you head butt someone there's normally some repercusions"
Re: Hookers Tue Jan 19, 2021 6:17 pm  
MillennialRhino Stevo's Armpit

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Thanks all for your comments.

Related but different point.

Personally I would like to see Dwyer getting used a lot more than he was used last season (congested fixtures aside). I see the benefit of using him against tired bodies, but I keep on thinking what it would be like to try 20mins per hooker per half.

I remember when warrington used to do something similar with both Monaghan and Higham playing equal-ish mins, and thinking that it seemed to work really well. And then wondering for the next decade why I never really saw that again. (Maybe these are more of my faulty memories….)

Now that we have two decent and complementary options I keep dreaming of Leeming and Dwyer both being able to really knacker themselves out for 20min spells rather than Leeming holding back because he’s doing longer mins, or Dwyer trying to do too much because he only gets 5 or 10 min spells when the game’s already done.

Can the more knowledgeable amongst you explain to me why such a tactic wouldn’t be worth a try? Is it as simple as sub rotations for props and big fellas?
Re: Hookers Tue Jan 19, 2021 7:11 pm  

doc-rhino wrote:
doc-rhino Free-scoring winger
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should they now be called middle middles
Re: Hookers Tue Jan 19, 2021 7:13 pm  

Simmo71 wrote:
Simmo71 Strong-running second rower
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The two options we have at the moment are very different.
Dwyer is erratic and unpredictable and a terrible passer of the ball. But he can cause tiring defences problems when he’s direct from dummy half.
Leeming is a much better passer from DH and is better at getting the ball moving quickly, you can see him talking to / encouraging the ball player to Get on with it. He’s also stronger in defence.
So, for me, always start with Leeming as he’s more reliable, but use Dwyer for bursts of action when we need something different or the opposition are tiring. 2 x 10-15 minute spells.
We've been trying to find the right 9 since Buderus left, but not had much luck for various reasons (loss of form, returned home, not good enough!)
I agree with previous post - it should have been McShane, but he was allowed to go.
And in the last 5 years or so, more teams have gone with 2 hookers in the 17, which has changed the thinking a bit.
Re: Hookers Tue Jan 19, 2021 7:26 pm  

User avatarKaeruJim wrote:
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I’m going to be controversial again here and say I’d rather we had one Daryl Clark than a Leeming and a Dwyer. We seem locked in this thinking from the Burrow years that we need to play two hookers.

I’d rather we had one superb hooker and then free a bench spot for another position.

Dwyer doesn’t have a good passing game; Leeming is arguably more complete but I’d like to see him step up a bit this year now he’s settled and hopefully over injury.
Re: Hookers Tue Jan 19, 2021 8:19 pm  
The Biffs Back User avatar
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The Ghost of '99 wrote:
McShane was the designated future hooker. He needed to develop, in some areas quite a bit, but in his case in particular I hold Brian McDermott largely responsible for that not working out.
After Buderus left McShane should have been given the role full time - and he did get the number 9 shirt - but McDermott never seemed to fully trust him so we often had Burrow starting at hooker rather than on the bench (a nonesense use of both players strengths) and then Lunt came in and we even saw Sinfield play there sometimes.

For whatever reason Powell has been able to get at something which McDermott couldn't and that is a great shame given the revolving door the starting hooker position has been since Buderus left.


I agree 100% that Brian Mac never trusted Macca to be the long term starting 9 whilst under his tenure as head coach.

Macca has always been a 9 that plays what is in front of him rather than sticking to the structured approach that Brian Mac preferred.
Daryll Powell got the best out of Macca by letting him control the ruck area and by also making sure that he he gave the ball to Gale when he wanted it, They were a great 9/7 combo

Macca is definitely one that we let go far too soon and who would have still been the starting 9 in 2021 for me
"...To those people that wrote this team off...
to all those that criticised this team...
tonight's for you"

Sir Kevin Sinfield
Re: Hookers Tue Jan 19, 2021 8:38 pm  

doc-rhino wrote:
doc-rhino Free-scoring winger
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KaeruJim wrote:
I’m going to be controversial again here and say I’d rather we had one Daryl Clark than a Leeming and a Dwyer. We seem locked in this thinking from the Burrow years that we need to play two hookers.

I’d rather we had one superb hooker and then free a bench spot for another position.

Dwyer doesn’t have a good passing game; Leeming is arguably more complete but I’d like to see him step up a bit this year now he’s settled and hopefully over injury.



goes back to jackson and newton before the burroow years and diskin /buderus
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