Reigning PDRL champions Warrington Wolves came out as 40-24 winners in a high scoring game against the Rhinos at Crosfields ARLFC this weekend, extending their unbeaten start to the 2021 season.
It was a barnstorming start for the Wolves who scored in the opening set of the game, but the Rhinos- who were debuting their brand new playing kit kindly provided by Oxen Sports and Bulldog Sports Leeds- hit back almost immediately with a fabulous kick and chase from Tom Lockett, marking the Rhinos’ first try from a kick during this campaign.
The visitors kept a fabulous roll on throughout the next 10 minutes and got their just rewards with Peter Clarke picking his hole in the defence and showing a great turn of pace to head in under the sticks and give Leeds a deserved 12-6 lead after the Tom Lockett conversion.
After that though it appeared that Warrington got a real grip on the game, with the hosts powering their way over to level the scores after being marched down the field on the back of a pair of penalties, which at that point was a real shame for the Rhinos who had enjoyed such a bright opening to the game. Warrington seized real control of the game with around 5 minutes left in the half, with back to back tries courtesy of some great ball handling to give them commanding 24-12 advantage at the interval.
FT: @WWRLFoundation 40-24 Rhinos
A fantastic showcase of @PDRLEngland sees the hosts secure the points despite second half Leeds tries from Tommy Pouncey and Nick Horner.
— Leeds Rhinos Foundation (@RugbyLeeds) July 4, 2021
The start of the second half saw the Wolves start in similar fashion to how they ended the first, pouncing on a loose pass from the Rhinos to steal back possession before scoring again under the sticks, the converted try extending their lead to 18. Their pressure and quality in the halves was proving too much for the Rhinos defence as they were once again opened up to put the Wolves ahead 36-12 inside the final quarter of the game.
To their credit, the Rhinos never stopped fighting though and kept ploughing their way forward, and it was great to see the dynamic duo of Harvey Redmonds and Owen Lockwood taking some pressure of the forwards. However, the next try could only be described as a worldie of a try from Tommy Pouncey, who powered through the defence and rounded the Wolves fullback to score from all of 40 metres out.
That moment of magic seemed to help the Rhinos grow in confidence, as Tommy Pouncey this time turned provided when he put in a spectacular short ball to Nick Horner who went in for his first try of the season and closed the gap to 36-24. Unfortunately it was too little too late, and as Warrington were helped downfield by their two youngest members who had been brought off the bench, they managed to grab one final score just seconds before the final whistle to secure a hard-fought 40-24 victory.
The victory keeps the Wolves unbeaten this season and at the top of the PDRL League table, whilst the Leeds Rhinos are still searching for their first win in 2021 and will be hopeful that their fortunes can change against Wigan Warriors in a few weeks time.
- Match report by Harvey Redmonds