Leeds Rhinos held off a late comeback to end a three game losing streak and secure a tense Magic Weekend win against London Broncos.
Despite coming under a vast amount of pressure in the week leading up to Magic Weekend, Leeds looked the better of both teams in the opening quarter, bringing a greater intensity that they were able to convert into points through Liam Sutcliffe and Ash Handley tries early on to get out to a ten-point lead.
London continued to stick in the game, however, and cut the deficit to four points with Alex Walker putting Ryan Morgan through a gap to cross for his second try of the season. The Broncos continued to pressure a tiring Leeds defence but couldn’t capitalise for the rest of the half and the Rhinos went into the half-time break with a four point lead.
Like a carbon copy of the first half, Leeds came out of the half-time break stronger of the two sides and extended their lead to eight points just two minutes into the second half with a well-worked move down the left edge. Broncos, however, replied sooner and crossed just five minutes later with a show and go from Jordan Abdull.
With the next score being crucial, London failed to capitalise on their opportunities in the middle part of the half and soft London defence allowed Leeds to push their lead out to eight again with a try from Harry Newman. As London looked to close the gap once more, Leeds all but won the game with a quickfire try from Richie Myler just three minutes later and made the score 24-10 with a Liam Sutcliffe conversion.
London continued to compete in the last ten minutes and collected a short kick-off, from which Abdull and Pitts linked up to bring the deficit back to eight points. Broncos’ comeback continued through Pitts and Abdull combining to put Walker over the line and cut the lead to two points with just under six minutes to play.
However London couldn’t convert any further opportunities in the closing stages to claim a dramatic comeback win.
London get closer to relegation
London clinched an important win last weekend against Wakefield but will undoubtedly rue this loss as a missed opportunity to take a step closer to survival in Super League against direct competition. With Hull KR also winning, London now face the risk of falling away from the pack and need a win soon to avoid such a scenario.
Leeds go one step closer to survival
Having been under arguably the most pressure of any team in the league this season, Leeds answered their critics with a well fought win and showed some signs of a resurging toughness and resilient attitude with strong goal line defence. With some of the pressure off their backs and two points closer to survival, Leeds will now look to push on with their season to further ensure safety from relegation.
Leeds’ youngsters impress
At just 19 years old, Harry Newman’s performance on Sunday was a promising show of what is to come from the Rhinos youth. Scoring a pivotal try alongside a fierce running game, Newman made a notable difference in the Leeds side and looks to be player they need to hold on to.
Myler stamps his mark on Leeds
Richie Myler has had a distinctly underwhelming season so far for the Rhinos but provided an exceptional performance when they needed it, showing good control with his kicking game and scoring the decisive 68th minute try as well as stopping Alex Walker from scoring with tough goal line defence.
Leeds Rhinos 24
Tries: Sutcliffe, Handley, Walker, Newman, Myler
Goals: Sutcliffe 2
Drop Goals: n/a
London Broncos 22
Tries: Morgan, Abdull 2, Walker
Goals: Dixon 3
Drop Goals: n/a
Leeds: Walker, Briscoe, Newman, Watkins, Handley, L. Sutcliffe, Myler, Seumanufagai, Dwyer, Singleton, Donaldson, Smith, Merrin.
Interchanges: Parcell, Peteru, Oledzki, A. Sutcliffe.
London: Walker, Dixon, Morgan, Kear, Williams, Abdull, Smith, Battye, Cunningham, Butler, Pitts, Lovell, Yates.
Interchanges: Richards, Fozard, Adebiyi, Gee.