Leeds finally managed to beat Warrington this season and they did it in style with a crushing 49-10 victory. Zak Hardaker starred crossing twice for this side. Chris Sandow debuted for the Wolves however it was a relatively quiet debut for the new addition.
Kallum Watkins, Tom Briscoe, Hardaker and Kevin Sinfield all contributed to four unanswered first half tries for Leeds. This was after Kevin Penny had put Warrington into the lead.
Penny also got the scoring underway in the second half but that would be all for Warrington. Joel Moon, Rob Burrow and Carl Ablett all scored in the second forty. These tries all came after Hardaker scored a magical solo try stepping past multiple oncoming Warrington defenders from around forty metres out.
It was a poor result on debut for Sandow who did help create one Warrington try but there was more a reaction from the Headingley faithful when his 40/20 attempt went out on the full in the first half.
Man of the match Hardaker said: “We’ve had two defeats against Warrington this season so it was nice to come out and put in a performance like that against them because we knew it was going to be difficult.”
Hardaker added: “I think we can go really far this season we’re playing very well.”
Warrington started the better and led early on when Penny scored his first of the game. Hooker Daryll Clark broke from deep after getting through poor defence from Danny McGuire and Adam Cuthbertson. He passed to Penny as Hardaker came at it him, Penny had an open run to the line and dove under the sticks.
However the Rhinos were soon level when their star man Kallum Watkins scored. Watkins made the original break before getting a quick play-the-ball which Sinfield scooped up before passing it back inside to the centre who scored. Sinfield would play a pivotal role in Leeds’ second try also. Cuthbertson used his offload again as he found Sinfield who then threw an accurate looping pass wide to Briscoe. The winger almost strolled to the corner to extend the home sides lead.
Hardaker was next to cross for Leeds. Jamie Peacock hit the full-back on an inside ball he managed to break the line before racing around an onrushing Stefan Ratchford and got to the line. A few minutes later Leeds were in again in a somewhat unconventional fashion. Leeds kept the ball alive with Cuthbertson’s offload game being influential again before Ablett looked to have knocked on but he managed to poke the ball forward with his foot. Sinfield then kicked it forward again before getting to the ball just before Rhys Evans. It was almost a curtain raiser for the Premier League which starts tomorrow.
Leeds went into the break with a comfortable lead after Sinfield added a penalty goal with the last kick of the half. Warrington came out in similar fashion to the first half and scored first, again. Debutant Sandow made his impact by putting Ratchford through the Leeds line, the full-back broke before finding Penny out wide with a long pass. Penny scored his second and Warrington’s second as they looked to fight back.
The Rhino’s soon quelled the chance of a wire comeback when Hardaker scored a wonderful solo try. Hardaker picked up the ball around 40 metres out before stepping through the line and then we saw an absolute masterclass in the art of the sidestep as he glided past multiple defenders to score with ease.
Moon would continue Leeds’ dominance when he hit a short ball from McGuire and powered his way over for his 9th of the season. This was soon followed up by a McGuire drop-goal from close range. Leeds weren’t finished however as they scored minutes later with a special move around the ruck. Burrow passed to Cuthbertson who then gave it inside to Hardaker who went through the space left by the markers. Hardaker then found Burrow and the little half-back finished off the move he started.
Finally Ablett would round off a convincing victory for Leeds when he managed to shrug off multiple lazy defensive efforts from Warrington before planting the ball down. Sinfield converted to give his side a 49-10 victory.
Leeds: Hardaker, Briscoe, Watkins, Moon, Hall, Sinfield, McGuire, Garbutt, Aiton, Peacock, Keinhorst, Ablett, Cuthbertson.
Interchanges: Burrow, Leuluai, Delaney, Singleton.
Warrington: Ratchford, Penny, Evans, King, Monaghan, Sandow, Myler, England, Clark, Sims, Philbin, Currie, Hill.
Interchanges: Dwyer, Asotasi, Wilde, King.
Referee: James Child.