Rugby League: Leeds have look of champions

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The Independent Online
Warrington 14 Leeds 27

IF THE mark of a champion side is making the most of limited opportunities, then they might as well give the Super League title to Leeds now.

The Headingley team finished up winning, by a relatively comfortable margin, a match that Warrington dominated for long periods. The difference lay in the ability to convert pressure into points, and in that respect alone Leeds were a class apart.

The game could still have gone either way in the last 10 minutes when Warrington, trailing by five points, thought they had scored in the corner, Mark Forster racing on to Lee Briers' kick.

But video replay disallowed that effort and with that decision went Warrington's hopes of emerging from the contest with anything to show.

In the last five minutes, Toa Kohe-Love was sinbinned for holding back Brad Godden as he supported Daryl Powell's break, Iestyn Harris kicking that penalty and then converting Anthony Farrell's try.

A 13-point margin did Warrington no justice. After their deplorable display at Wigan the previous week, they gave the other candidates for top spot a very different 80 minutes and should have led by more than Chris Rudd's three penalties after the first half-hour.

But Leeds, stuttering along unconvincingly, then started to give their lesson in the art of taking chances.

Andy Hay was involved in both the tries that gave them the lead as half- time approached, charging for the line only to be stopped by Lee Penny and Leeds scoring their first through Francis Cummins on the other wing with the defence still stretched. Four minutes later, Hay handed off the hardworking Mark Hilton to go over and put Leeds in front.

Brendon Tuuta traded passes with Mike Wainwright to restore Warrington's advantage before the break, but a storming run from Barrie McDermott edged Leeds back into the lead.

Rudd's penalty tied matters before Ryan Sheridan's scampering try from dummy half and Graham Holroyd's drop goal gave Leeds a decisive lead.

They still needed the video referee to protect that advantage, but emerged with their two hard-earned points.

Warrington: Penny; Roach, Rudd, Eagar, Forster; Kohe-Love, Briers; Hilton, Farrar, Nutley, McCurrie, Tuuta, Wainwright. Substitutes used: Knott, Morley.

Leeds: Harris; Sterling, Blackmore, Godden, Cummins; Kemp, Holroyd; Masella, Sheridan, Fleary, Hay, Farrell, Powell. Substitutes used: McDermott, St Hilaire, Mathiou.

Referee: R Smith (Castleford).