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Leigh Leopards were still seeking their first win of the season as they entered the fourth round of Super League XXIX with a game against a Leeds Rhinos side with their eyes on the top half of the table after a great win against the Catalans Dragons last time out.

The Rhinos were slight favourites with the bookies, but many pundits thought that it was too close to call with Leigh only getting a two-point start on the handicap coupon.

It was another week and another suspension for the Rhinos with James Bentley missing, but they did welcome back Mikolaj Oledzki, Leigh also made changes including the return of Tom Amone after a suspension, but they were still without John Asiata.

Both sides set out their stall early in that they intended to play rugby and keep the ball alive through fast hands and both made good ground on their initial sets. Oledzki had the first opportunity of the game when he went close for Leeds on six minutes, but Leigh maintained an intact line.

But it was Leigh who opened the scoring when Gareth O’Brien spotted a gap in the Rhinos defensive line to run the angle from ten metres out to dive in down the left-hand wing. Matt Moylan attempted the conversion just five metres in from the touchline but slipped the ball wide of the uprights.

On twenty minutes Leigh brilliantly turned defence into attack after a sprinting twenty metre tap. Two lightning fast play the balls culminated with Kai O’Donnell busting a tackle and stretching for the line to ground. Moylan was on target this time for a 10-0 lead.

Twenty-five minutes saw the Leopards register their third try of the night as Umyla Hanley juggled a miss out pass to go over in the right corner on the overlap. Moylan was short with his conversion attempt, Leeds already three scores adrift.

A high tackle from Jarrod O’Connor twenty from the Leeds posts gave Moylan the opportunity to extend the lead which he gratefully accepted for 16-0.

Amone had a try ruled out on thirty-seven by the referee and confirmed by the video official as he was judged to have promoted the ball after being tackled but Leigh had been ruthless in attack and unflinching in defence, their best forty minutes of the season so far, by quite some distance.

Three minutes after the restart and Leigh appeared to take up where they had left off with a spectacular Hanley try down the right, but the video referee spotted a foot in touch to deny the score.

It was Leeds who drew first blood in the second half as Rhyse Martin span out of a tackle and stretched for the line to ground under two tacklers. Martin added the conversion, Leeds back within ten points of the home side.

Gareth O’Brien was sin-binned on fifty-one as he held down a Leeds man as they tried a fast play the ball after a speedy break downfield.

On the hour mark the Rhinos were back within a converted try of the lead with a brilliant run from Matt Frawley at first receiver as he threw a dummy, dropped the shoulder, and went twenty metres to score under the posts. Martin added the conversion for 12-16.

Leeds were level on sixty-three after a grubber kick from Martin was collected by Paul Momirovski and passed back inside for Ash Handley to cross for the try. Martin missed the conversion, the sides all square at 16-16 with sixteen minutes remaining.

Great Leeds teamwork saw them grab the lead on sixty-nine as Handley got his second of the night, this one after a Martin break and a brilliant pass from the supporting Brodie Croft. Martin added the conversion for a 22-16 lead as Lachlan Lam was helped from the field with a thigh injury.

On seventy-three Justin Sangare was sin-binned for a late tackle, repeated offences from the Rhinos who were now down to twelve for the remaining six minutes of the game, the Rhinos holding on against a Leigh onslaught as they ran the clock down to the final hooter.

This was your proverbial game of two halves, Leigh Leopards by far the superior side in the opening forty with the Rhinos not finding their game, but in the second half it was the Rhinos who were on top form as they scored twenty-two unanswered points to snatch the win from a devastated home side. It was a gritty performance from the Rhinos to snatch the win, Leigh still searching for their first win of the season as the Rhinos go level with three other sides at the top of the table.

Leigh Leopards: O’Brien (T, SB on 51), Hanley (2T), Hardaker, Leutele, Charnley, Moylan (2G), Lam, Hughes, Dwyer, Mulhern, O’Donnell (T), Halton, Amone. Subs: Norman, Davis, Nakubuwai, Trout. 18th Man: Chamberlain.  

Leeds Rhinos: Miller, Roberts, Newman, Momirovski, Handley, Croft, Frawley (T), Oledzki, Ackers, Goudemand, McDonnell, Martin (T, 2G), Smith.  Subs: Holroyd, Ruan, Sangare (SB on 74), O’Connor. 18th Man: Edgell.

Half-Time: 16-0.

Full-Time: 16-22.

Score Progression: 4-0, 8-0, 10-0, 14-0, 16-0 : HT: 16-4, 16-6, (SB), 16-10, 16-12, 16-16, 16-20, 16-22, (SB) :FT.

Lead Exchanges: Leigh – Square - Leeds.

Referee: Chris Kendall.

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 8th Mar 2024 9:58 PM | Views : 3521 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES