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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Leeds Rhinos 22 Widnes Vikings 23

3rd July 2016

By Leeds Rhinos

Widnes hit back with 13 points, including a last gasp drop goal from Joe Mellor, to defeat the Rhinos 23-22 at Headingley Carnegie.

The Rhinos had had the benefit of two weeks preparation to face Widnes at Headingley Carnegie and they started the stronger side with a number of half chances in the Widnes half.
 
The home side took the lead after just seven minutes. Leeds had to forced a drop out previously and they made their pressure count when Mitch Achurch produced a quick play the ball that allowed Rob Burrow to pop up a short pass to Kallum Watkins, who came charging on to the ball to score. Liam Sutcliffe added the conversion to give his side a 6-0 lead.
 
Widnes should have equalised soon after when Joe Mellor went through a gap but the half back attempted to ground the ball one handed and lost his grip on the ball on the way down to grounding it.
 
However, the visitors did hit back after 17 minutes when Kevin Brown worked a move to put winger Corey Thompson through a gap to score. Rhys Hanbury missed the conversion attempt but the gap was now two points.
 
There was a slice of good fortune in the Rhinos next try as a mix up in the Widnes defence saw two players leave Danny McGuire’s kick to each other and Ryan Hall, on his return to the starting line up, jumped between the pair to catch the ball and score.  Sutcliffe narrowly missed the conversion attempt but now led 10-4.
 
The Rhinos were not long in increasing the lead when they scored on the next set. An offload 30 metres from the home line set the play going before Kallum Watkins broke clear near halfway. He fed Luke Briscoe who passed inside to Ashton Golding. The young full back was hauled down but managed to get the ball away along the ground and Joel Moon picked up before racing around the back of the tackle to go over and score. Sutcliffe’s conversion made it 16-4 after 27 minutes.
 
The home side had to withstand a barrage of pressure from Widnes after that score as they tried to find a way back into the game. The Rhinos defended three successive sets on their own line due to a combination of knock ons and penalties but they looked to have weathered the storm when Mellor ducked under the tackle of Watkins and, this time, managed to ground the ball just before Golding got to him. Hanbury added the conversion to make it 16-10 at half time.
 
The second half was equally cagey and once again it was Leeds who crossed first. Both teams were looking to keep the ball alive in the excellent conditions however it was a old fashioned barge that brought the next try as Jamie Jones-Buchanan passed to Mitch Garbutt and the prop powered his way over from close range. Sutcliffe added the conversion to give his side a 22-10 lead.
 
However, Widnes then hit back with two quick tries around the hour. Golding had denied the Vikings a certain try with a sensational piece of defence on his own line when Brown kicked ahead for Thompson but soon after the play was switched to the opposite flank by Brown. The captain’s bullet pass gave Ah Van the gap he needed to get around the outside of Briscoe to score.
 
Leeds were then dealt another blow when Briscoe spilled a high kick 20 metres from his own line and Widnes immediately went on the attack. Hanbury got the ball and, despite Golding’s best efforts once again, he rolled in the tackle and touched the ball down behind his head. Hanbury converted both tries to level the game at 22-22.
 
Brown rushed at a drop goal attempt for the visitor with five minutes to go before Leeds looked to create the chance for a late attempt but Widnes were then awarded a penalty 20 metres from their own line. They kicked deep down field and set up a position for Joe Mellor to kick the winning drop goal from 35 metres out. 
 

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