Rugby League: London pay for mistakes

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The Independent Online
Leeds 34 London Broncos 12

TIME IS running out for the London Broncos. Last year's runners-up might only be four points away from the play-off places going into the last half-dozen games of the league season, but there was little sign in the way they were dismantled by Iestyn Harris last night of the sort of form surge that could put them into contention.

Harris, with two fine tries, Brad Godden and Marc Glanville were outstanding contributors to a win that tightens Leeds' grip on second place as London created a lot of their own problems with some disorganised play and glaring individual mistakes.

It was error-prone stuff from the start by London and particularly by Tulsen Tollett, so impressive in his new position of full-back against Wigan last week but guilty of spilling two high kicks in the opening minutes at Headingley.

From the second of them, launched by Harris, Leeds opened their scoring, Paul Sterling coming through on to the loose ball after Chris Ryan had tried to clear the danger.

Harris landed the conversion and a penalty after Peter Gill had been sin-binned for disputing an offside decision and London had a number of other dodgy moments before Harris caught them out again, almost midway through the half. The Leeds captain slid past Ady Spencer on one of his elusive, swerving runs and Leeds were in a dominant position.

Tollett and Rob Smyth struggled under the kick again, Harris following up to touch down but the try was denied by a knock-on by Francis Cummins.

With London making no headway of their own and Shaun Edwards exerting little influence it was only a matter of time before Leeds went further ahead. Again a Broncos mistake was at the heart of it, Mat Toshack knocking- on and Harris looping around from the scrum to stretch over the line despite Toshack and Ryan's double tackle.

A penalty, awarded against Steele Retchless for holding down, completed Harris' personal first-half assault.

Adrian Morley's interception from Gill set Leeds on their way after the break, Harris and Godden combining to send Cummins over for his 14th try of the season and Harris, Morley and Godden were all involved again when Ryan Sheridan claimed their fifth try.

It was fitting that London's first points should come in the form of a gift, Harris and Sterling colliding under Toshack's kick to present Ryan with the try.

A response from Daryl Powell, supplied by Godden, who later scored a well-deserved try of his own, underlined Leeds' superiority and if Harris, who kicked only three goals, had been on better form with the boot their victory would have been even more overwhelming.

London earned a late consolation when Edwards pounced after Gill's low kick eluded Powell, but they face a formidable task over the rest of the season.

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

London: Tollett; Smyth, Toshack, Timu, Ryan; Air, Edwards; Young, Beazley, Carroll, Retchless, Spencer, Gill. Substitutes used: Dunford, Salter, Millard, Williams.

Referee: R Smith (Castleford).

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