Leeds Rhinos PDRL made a fine start to their 2019 campaign, with back-to-back wins over Wakefield Trinity and Wigan Warriors at Eastmoor Dragons ARLFC on Sunday.
More than 300 people attended the first PDRL festival of the year on Sunday, with five of the competition’s teams featuring in the season opener.
Having narrowly beaten Wakefield twice last season, the Rhinos knew they would face another tough test and for the second consecutive meeting between the sides left it late to secure victory, with a Tom Kaye try in the dying seconds of the game earning a 16-12 win over their West Yorkshire rivals.
A tight contest saw the lead change hands three times in the opening 15 minutes, scores from Chris Young and Tom Lockett for Leeds cancelled out by Dean and Humphries for Trinity to give the hosts a narrow 12-10 lead.
But with time running out, Rhinos marched downfield and, despite some desperate Wakefield defence on their own line, were able to snatch victory in the most dramatic finish as Kaye burrowed over the line on the final play of the game.
It was then onto the second match of the afternoon, with competition newcomers Wigan Warriors providing the opposition for Dan Roberts’ side.
Things started well for the Rhinos, who stormed out to a 10-0 lead after just 6 minutes thanks to long-range efforts from Young and Dylan Hughes, before Scott Gobin also crossed when a superb reverse pass from Lockett opened up the Warriors defence. Lockett’s conversion made it 16-0.
Wigan, playing in their first ever competitive PDRL match, never gave up and showed great fighting spirit, cutting the lead to 16-6 thanks to a fine solo effort from Ben Seward which saw him beat five Rhinos defenders on his way to the line. An immediate response followed though, with a break downfield from Owen Lockwood allowing Tom Pouncey to send Leeds’ player-coach Dan Roberts over for his first try of the season on the following play.
Hughes grabbed his second of the match, once again profiting from great play from halfback Lockwood to break away from a scrambling Warriors defence and score, before further tries from Young and Kaye ensured the Rhinos came away with a convincing 34-6 win and made it two wins from two games to start their campaign.
The side now turn their attention PDRL’s big day at Anfield, where they will face Warrington Wolves in an exhibition game during half-time of the Betfred Super League game between Hull FC and Huddersfield Giants (KO 4.30).
Presenter of Channel 4’s The Last Leg, Alex Brooker, will play for Rhinos as he goes head to head once again with fellow presenter Adam Hills in a repeat of the inaugural PDRL fixture in February 2018.
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