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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Leeds Rhinos 30 Catalan Dragons 6

13th May 2011

By Leeds Rhinos

Two tries from Zak Hardaker finally broke Catalan Dragons at Headingley Carnegie in an absorbing battle between two sides who came into the game level in the table.

Leeds only led 6-0 at half time and just after the hour mark, it looked like a tense finish was in prospect at 12-6 however the Rhinos cut loose in the final quarter to run out comfortable winners in the end.

WP – Home MPU

The Rhinos returned to Headingley Carnegie and Engage Super League action with the visit of the in form Catalan Dragons on a wet night.

Trent Robinson's French outfit came into the game on the back of a six game unbeaten run which included away wins at Warrington and Wigan. Leeds themselves were looking to build on their recent momentum however it was the weather that had the biggest influence early on.

A heavy downpour proceeded the game and it made for greasy conditions. Catalan failed to deal with a skidding kick off to give Leeds first use of the ball deep in Dragons territory. Ryan Hall was unlucky not to open the scoring when the touch judge ruled he had hit the corner post as he regathered a spilled grubber kick, although replays seemed to suggest otherwise.

The Rhinos used the conditions to their advantage and built pressure by kicking along the ground towards the visitors in goal and forcing four drop outs inside the opening 15 minutes.

Catalan did manage to withstand the pressure and then had their best spell of the game as they counter attacked. Cyril Stacul and Setaimata Sa were at the heart of the action but the final pass was eventually thrown into touch and the chance was gone.

That was a warning for the home side and they knew they needed to make the most of their next chance. Jamie Jones-Buchanan made a great break down the North Stand side before passing as he fell to Hall. The winger was dragged towards touch by Stacul but managed to throw the ball back inside to Keith Senior. The centre controlled the ball with his feet but as he went to regather the ball, he was pushed over by Jean-Philippe Baile. The penalty was awarded but remarkably Baile was not shown a yellow card for the most blatant of professional fouls.

Leeds did not waste any time in getting back on the attack and, from the penalty, two tackles later, Sinfield produced a sublime cut out pass that missed two attackers and put Hall away clear to score in the corner. Sinfield added the touchline conversion to make it 6-0 after 20 minutes.

The game entered a scrappy phase after that as neither was able to make much of an in road into the others defensive line. Catalans looked dangerous when they did attack the Leeds line but the Rhinos were more than a match as they close down the space and denied the visitors any line breaks to secure their narrow lead at the break.

The second half continued in a similar style with the kicking game the main attacking weapon for both teams as they looked to put the attacking side under pressure in their own half and force an error. Defences were up very quickly which stiffled space for the teams to attack and it became a very tactical encounter.

The Rhinos extended their lead when Kylie Leuluai took Sinfield's clever pass to crash over. Sinfield added the conversion to make it 12-0.

However, just before the hour mark Catalan struck when Ian Henderson went over from dummy half. Thomas Bosc converted to put the result right back in the mix.

Sinfield edged his side further in front with a penalty after 70 minutes but few could foresee what was about to come in the final ten minutes. Three tries in the final run in saw the Rhinos race clear.

The first came from Zak Hardaker who finished off great work by Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Carl Ablett and Brett Delaney. He was then on hand when Sinfield put in a booming cross field kick two minutes later following a breath taking break involving Hall and Lee Smith. Sinfield converted the latter to make it 24-6.

The scoreline was given a gloss in the final minute when Rob Burrow broke through on half way before stepping around the full back to score between the posts. Sinfield converted to make the final score 30-6.

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