Rugby League: Leeds finally find right gear

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Rugby League

PETER WARD

Leeds 30 London Broncos 12

Whatever harsh words the Leeds coach, Dean Bell, has been using lately, he seems to have hit upon the right formula. Leeds, dogged winners over Bradford Bulls at the weekend, brought off this victory over a previously blooming Broncos with both verve and style.

Leeds had the best of the early attacks with the worst of consequences. A cut-out pass from the scrum-half, Dave Gibbons, was well anticipated by the Broncos centre, Scott Roskill, who covered 80 metres unchallenged; Terry Matterson's easy goal saw Leeds six points down in as many minutes.

George Mann, switched from second row to stand-off in the most drastic of Leeds' injury-enforced changes, showed that he had learned his positional drills quickly when he took a pass in mid-air, came down running, and left the Broncos defence groping as he went in for the try that, with Francis Cummins' goal, levelled the scores. Minutes later Leeds were ahead with a Cummins penalty.

Ten minutes before the end of the half Jim Fallon, who was making his comeback after a five-match injury absence, dodged round the blind side from the play-the-ball to score a try. That provided Cummins with the chance of showing off his long kicking at goal, and he landed the conversion.

If their first-half play had been desultory at times, Leeds positively sparkled in the second. Seven minutes after the restart, Cummins cruised past four defenders on a 70-metre charge to the line, adding the goal.

The home defence then needed all their ability and bravery to stand up to the Australian skills that have boosted the Broncos. They were finally breached when an inside pass from Leo Dynevor from Paul Hauff, with Matterson's goal taking Broncos into double figures. Leeds were firmly in charge, though, and good backing-up from the full-back Anthony Gibbons brought them another try with Cummins goal producing the final score line.

Leeds: A Gibbons; Fallon, Cummins, Hall, Hassan (Reilly, 68); Mann, D Gibbons (Hanley, 68); Howard, Lowes, McDermott, Morley (Fozzard, 53), Field (Harmon, 72), Forshaw.

London Broncos: Scourfield; Butt, Roskell, Hauff, Riley (Langer, 54); Walker, Dynevor; Mestrov, Rae, Shaw (Pitt, 70), Bawden (Bryant, 35; Rosolen, 58), Gill, Matterson.

Referee: R Connolly (Wigan).

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