Widnes Vikings scored 19 unanswered second-half points as they overcame an out-of-sorts Leeds Rhinos at the Select Security Stadium to record their second league win of the season.
The Rhinos- who had played nine days earlier in the World Club Challenge against Melbourne in Australia- were 6-4 in front at the break, after Joe Mellor’s dart through the Leeds left-edge was cancelled out by a determined run from dummy-half by ex-Warrington hooker Brad Dwyer.
Nevertheless, the reigning champions were out-enthused in the second half by a far more energetic Vikings side who secured victory with three unanswered scores.
Krisnan Inu scored either side of a powerful drive to the line by Danny Walker- his first senior try- to secure the win, with Danny Craven adding a drop-goal to rub salt into the wounds.
Brian McDermott was missing some key players including Ryan Hall (illness), Tom Briscoe (back), and Joel Moon- who McDermott admitted had played with an injury against the Storm last week.
Nevertheless, his side still held plenty of experience, but could not compete with the flamboyant attacking rugby produced by Denis Betts’ troops.
For Widnes, it was the perfect way to bounce back from their derby-day defeat to Warrington last Friday. Now, they will be hoping to continue their momentum when they travel to face Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium on Friday night.
Inu Shows His Class
He may have been one of a number of players who excelled in the Vikings latest fixture, nevertheless Inu is quickly becoming a fan’s favourite in the North-West of England.
He rightly took the ovation of the Pat Price Stand at the full-time hooter, knowing full well that he is exactly the man that Widnes have been crying out for.
The New-Zealander adds spark and creativity to the back-line in a way that Chris Bridge once did- only Inu has exceeded these standards.
With five tries to his name already this year, Inu knows that he will need to continue with these kinds of performances if his side are to continue their push towards the top eight and beyond.
Rhinos Youngsters Lack Spark
Leeds freshened things up from the World Club Challenge, handing game-time to the likes of Harry Newman, Ashton Golding, Mikolaj Oledzki and Cameron Smith.
Although their desire was there for all to see, they didn’t really have too much of an influence on the game and perhaps could’ve benefited from more guidance from the likes of Kallum Watkins, Richie Myler and co.
This may have been seen as an audition for some players- to see whether or not they were ready for first-team action on a regular basis.
On this evidence, you would say not quite.
Man Of The Match- Matt Whitley
Although he didn’t score, Whitley tackling endeavor and fierce running of the ball caused havoc for the Rhinos all day long.
Any good attacking performance needs forwards showing the determination and desire required to form a solid platform.
There was speculation in the off-season about the future of this young second-rower- The Vikings must now make it their priority to hold onto the 22-year old starlet of the game.
Widnes Vikings 23
Tries: Mellor, Inu (2), D.Walker
Goals: Gilmore 0/1, Inu 3/4
Drop Goals: Craven
Leeds Rhinos 6
Drop Goals: n/a
Widnes: Hanbury; Chamberlain, Craven, Inu, Marsh; Mellor, Gilmore; J Chapelhow, Heremaia, Cahill, Dean, Whitley, Olbison.
Substitutes: Walker, W Albert, T Chapelhow, Wilde.
Leeds: Golding; Newman, Watkins, Keinhorst, Handley; L Sutcliffe, Myler; Singleton, Parcell, Jones-Buchanan, Delaney, Walker, Ormondroyd.
Substitutes: Dwyer, Garbutt, Smith, Oledzki.
Referee: Robert Hicks.
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