Patched-up Leeds lose world title

Leeds 20 Manly 28

Leeds relinquished their crown as the best club team in the world reluctantly, beaten by an exceptional Manly side that established its superiority with three tries in seven minutes after half-time.

Brett Stewart and Anthony Watmough were the heroes with two tries apiece, but the Australian champions always looked more convincing as a unit than the brave but patched-up Rhinos. Three late tries made it look respectable for the home side, but the reality was that they were second-best on the night.

"I though it was a pretty comprehensive display," said the Manly coach, Des Hasler. "The scoreboard didn't really indicate the way it was. We were in control for most of the time.

Leeds included their England scrum-half, Rob Burrow, for his first competitive match of the year, after weeks nursing a back injury. Burrow shirked nothing while he was on the field, but he was only destined to last 15 minutes before being flattened by a borderline tackle from Watmough and helped from the field.

Soon to follow him was Jamie Peacock, who came away from a play-the-ball swinging punches at his opposite number, Josh Perry. The fracas involved most of the 26 players and saw both the main protagonists sent to the sin-bin. Leeds were by far the worse affected. The penalty went to Manly and Stewart got over the try-line from dummy half.

On the half hour, Watmough hit a Matt Orford short pass with one of his trademark angled runs and the Sea Eagles had a second try, with Orford adding his second conversion. It could have already been hopeless for Leeds if Stewart had not fumbled after Watmough had made another clean break.

Leeds capitalised on that mistake before half-time, Danny McGuire attacking the Manly line when they failed to deal with a Kevin Sinfield kick. Although he was wrapped up in Orford's tackle, he had the presence of mind to smuggle the ball back for Jamie Jones-Buchanan to touch down and Leeds were still in the game.

Rhinos' fans were still taking their seats for the second half when the situation on the field changed radically. Within two minutes, Adam Cuthbertson's break and Michael Robinson's kick created a fortunate second try for Stewart when Carl Ablett's attempt to dive on the ball merely served it up for the Manly full-back. A tackle from Ryan Hall prevented him from making it a hat-trick immediately after, but Watmough was lurking to score in any case.

Shane Rodney and Heath L'Estrange then made the running for Steve Matai to touch down and the Sea Eagles were soaring out of sight. It was to Leeds' credit that they still managed to finish so strongly, with Ali Lauitiiti's handling skills creating tries for Keith Senior and Ryan Hall.

A second brawl saw Orford put over a penalty, but the deposed world champions still finished on a high with Senior's break and McGuire's try. They cannot be accused of giving up their title tamely.

Leeds: Smith; Donald, Ablett, Senior, R Hall; McGuire, Burrow; Leuluai, Diskin, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Kirke, Sinfield. Substitutes used: Lauitiiti, Bailey, Burgess, Watkins.

Manly: B Stewart; Robertson, Lyon, Matai, Williams; Bailey, Orford; King, Ballin, Perry, Watmough, G Hall, G Stewart. Substitutes used: L'Estrange, Cuthbertson, Rose, Rodney.

Referee: J Robinson (Australia).

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
Life and Style
An Internet security expert has warned that voice recognition technology needs to be more secure
techExperts warn hackers could control our homes or spend our money simply by speaking
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style