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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

Match Pages - Match Information

Match Pages - Match Information

Hunslet RLFC 14 Leeds Rhinos 21

15th January 2017

By Leeds Rhinos

Leeds Rhinos continued their pre-season campaign with a 21-14 win against Hunslet RLFC in the inaugural Harry Jepson OBE Memorial Cup at South Leeds Stadium with tries from Handley, Walters and Aston.

The fixture had an added edge with a contingent of former Leeds players in action for Hunslet including three new signings in Joe Sanderson, Jack Norfolk and Nyle Flynn and Adrian Morley also taking charge of his first game since joining the Rhinos coaching staff.

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The Rhinos first match action since Boxing Day started in lively fashion with Cory Aston scoring inside two minutes after fellow new signing Jack Ormondroyd capitalised on a bouncing deflected ball and put his scrum half clear through a gap in the Hunslet defence to score his first for the Rhinos. Kicking duties in the first half fell to Liam Sutcliffe who converted the opening try to give Leeds a 6-0 start.

Despite the Rhinos jumping ahead early on the scoreboard, the home side quickly gained some composure through the kicking of Danny Ansell, who put Leeds under pressure on a number of occasions early on with a good mix of attacking probes into the Leeds half.

With a high penalty count and a number of handling errors from both sides in the opening period, possession changed hands often but following a 40-20 from Ansell, Hunslet got their first try of the afternoon with a decisive move from the resulting set and winger Marcus Webb scoring in the corner.

Former Rhinos Academy player Joe Sanderson almost converted from the touchline with the resulting kick but his effort struck the nearside post, leaving the Rhinos marginally in the lead with 20 minutes on the clock.

Ansell and Sanderson continued to conspire with some well placed kicks for the home side who grew into the game in the first half but neither side were able to capitalise on a succession of penalties until the 30th minute when Sam Hallas broke the Hunslet line and won a penalty five metres out.

Leeds made good use of the next play and some slick hands in the back division saw Jimmy Keinhorst find Ash Handley to barge over in the corner and open up a 10-4 lead for the visitors. Sutcliffe couldn’t convert from the touchline and the scores stayed 10-4 with 10 minutes to play in the half.

Leeds saw more chances go to waste in the final minutes of the first half as Aston fumbled a pass on the last tackle 10 metres out but the scrum half put a high bomb towards the Hunslet line in the following set in response to his earlier error and almost created a final chance for Leeds but for the good work of Webb in defence.

Hunslet then turned the game in their favour in the dying moments of the first half when Sanderson kicked the home side’s second 40-20 of the game and gave his team a final look at the Leeds line.

After good work from Whitehead, who broke through the Leeds middle, Hunslet wrestled the scoreline back to within two points when Jimmy Watson found Normington to score near the touchline.

Sanderson then converted to bring the scores level at 10-10 on the half time hooter and set up the second half nicely.

The Rhinos introduced Jordan Lilley for the second half and the half back wasted no time in putting his impression on the game with a smart kick to give Leeds some early territory finding touch on the bounce on the Hunslet 10 metres.

With Leeds finding some good ground in the second half through some strong carries from Oledzki and Baldwinson the game once again took a turn for the unexpected as Hunslet scored first in the half to put them in front for the first time in the game.

Leeds gave a penalty away in their own half and substitute Joel Gibson managed to find a gap in the Rhinos defence breaking through and scoring from 20 metres out. Gibson, who had replaced Sanderson on kicking duty couldn’t however convert his try and the scores stayed 14-10 to Hunslet.

With the Rhinos now on the back foot, Ash Handley provided another telling contribution by scoring his second try of the afternoon. The winger intercepted a Hunslet pass out wide and raced clear of would be tacklers to score from 90 metres to put Leeds back in front.

Lilley added the conversion to bring Leeds back in front which proved to be a tough blow for the home side as the game ran into the final 20 minutes.

A resilient Hunslet continued to compete in what was becoming an end to end affair going into the last quarter of the game with both sides taking possession in dangerous areas but more handling errors from Sutcliffe and Aston stemmed Leeds’ attacks until the 74th minute.

Aston again created indecision in the Hunslet defence with a grubber kick that was fumbled by the home side and Leeds scored the final try of the game, again through one of their first team players as Josh Walters found space out wide and crashed over from a Lilley assist.

When Leeds couldn’t add to their 20-14 lead as Lilley missed his conversion, Hunslet looked to try and put more pressure on Leeds to snatch a possible draw in the final minutes but Leeds’ defensive line held strong and rebuffed a number of sets from the home side.

To seal the win and a good second half performance from the scrum half, Lilley calmly slotted over a drop goal to extend the Rhinos lead to seven and put the game out of reach for Hunslet, securing the Harry Jepson OBE Cup for the visitors in the process.

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