Leeds Rhinos Wheelchair made sure their long journey home from Kent this weekend was a happy one by defeating London Roosters 60-22 in their penultimate game of the Wheelchair Super League Playoffs.
Player-Coach James Simpson once again set the standard and led from the front on Sunday scoring five tries in the win, which kept alive the side’s hopes of securing the league leaders’ shield for a third consecutive season.
The Rhinos were disappointed with their performance in the home defeat to Halifax Panthers last time out, and therefore they were keen to put on a good showing in this fixture at the Medway Sports Centre in Gillingham.
They got off to a red-hot start with Simpson crossing twice inside the first ten minutes of the contest, and by half time they had already built up an healthy 38-0 advantage as he completed his hat-trick before England internationals Josh Butler, Tom Halliwell and Ewan Clibbens all added their names to the scoresheet, supplemented by five conversions from Nathan Collins.
Such a strong defensive performance to keep the Roosters scoreless in the first period will have been extremely pleasing for Simpson, who was quick to utilise different combinations of players and expose each member of the travelling squad to long minutes on the field.
Whilst the hosts did enjoy a more prosperous second half with Lewis King and Joe Coyd both grabbing braces, they never posed a serious threat to the Rhinos lead and further tries from Simpson and Butler, as well as a first of the afternoon for the hard-working Jodie-Ann Boyd-Ward, saw them run out clear winners and head back up the M1 with two important competition points in the bag.
Next up for Leeds Rhinos Wheelchair is a trip across the Pennines to face Wigan Warriors on Saturday 3rd September in what will be their last game before the Play-Off Semi-Finals. To claim top spot and win the league leaders’ shield, they will need to defeat the Cherry and Whites and hope that London can spring a shock by defeating Halifax who currently occupy pole position in the table.
For more information about Leeds Rhinos Wheelchair, including details of how you can get involved with the team or have a try at playing Wheelchair Rugby League for the first time, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.