It’s been a long time coming, but Leeds Rhinos PDRL are finally off the mark in 2021 after defeating Warrington’s ‘Wire’ squad 24-16 at Crosfields ARLFC this weekend.
After a difficult start to the season, the Rhinos were able to show the grit and determination required to come out on top in yet another arm-wrestle to finally secure maximum points and gain some much needed momentum going into the final stages of the PDRL League.
But ‘Wire’- who may be considered to be Warrington’s ‘B’ team in some circles- showed that no side in this year’s competition can be under-estimated, with a battling performance that pushed Dan Roberts’ men all the way which emphasised the strength in depth and sheer amount of quality players available to the Cheshire club, who have becoming the first club to enter two teams into the league.
After last week’s fixture against Wigan Warriors was postponed due to player availability issues, the Rhinos were raring to go and made that clear by racing into an early 12-0 lead with tries from Chris Young and Scott Gobin, both converted by the ever-present Tom Kaye who took over kicking duties with Tom Lockett missing out.
The hosts were quick to hit back though, and any thoughts of the Rhinos enjoying a comfortable afternoon were quickly banished with two tries of their own to tie things up at 12-12. But in the final set of the first half, Leeds made sure they’d go into the interval with a lead as flying winger Gobin was released down the touchline and raced clear of the Wire defence to grab his second try of the game. Kaye’s conversion made it 18-12.
The lead was quickly doubled after the break, with nice build up play through the halves leading to Chris Young dancing around a Wire defender to touch down and Kaye once again adding the extras.
Just when it seemed the Rhinos would begin to take full control of the match and pull clear of their opponents, a combination of handling errors, poor discipline and lack of concentration meant they offered the hosts a way back into the game, and with 10 minutes left to play Wire struck back in the corner to pull to within 8 points at 24-16. The remainder of the match would see Leeds backed up inside their own half, but a fantastic show of determination and a willingness to finally win shone through as they stood firm and maintained their lead, denying Wire on multiple occasions despite threatening.
As the whistle blew, the relief amongst the Rhinos players was evident and it was testament to their character that after so many unfortunate results and setbacks this season they could celebrate their first win of the year on the road, despite not having played their best rugby of the campaign.
It’s now all eyes on the ‘Wolves’ side, with the Rhinos taking on the high flying Warrington side this weekend and looking to not only inflict their first defeat of the season, but also gain revenge for the disappointing loss they suffered to the reigning champions back in Round 5.
Full match details, including Kick Off time, will be confirmed in due course.