Rugby League: Schofield moves Leeds up a gear

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Leeds. . . . . . . . . .13 Warrington. . . . . . . .4

LEEDS kick-started their stalled season last night against a Warrington side who broke down on the motorway and never looked like getting into top gear.

It was a solid rather than a spectacular show from Leeds, but after the way they had performed recently, their renewed enthusiasm and the way they dominated their visitors almost from start to finish gave some hope.

After an opening during which they could have put themselves in trouble with a couple of mistakes and unnecessary penalties, Leeds, and Garry Schofield in particular, set about re-building their bridges to a disillusioned public.

Schofield, whose dismal form in the thrashing at Bradford had been the talk of Headingley this week, showed much more vigour here, as did the players around him. He claimed a try in the seventh minute, hoisting a high kick and then following up to capitalise on some deft work by Craig Innes, who got under the ball and turned it neatly back inside. Colin Maskill converted.

Good handling moves involving Schofield and Ellery Hanley brought Leeds more ascendancy if not more points. They went a long way to putting that right three minutes before half-time, when smart handling from Schofield, Andy Goodway and Paul Dixon sent Hanley on a typically powerful run to the line.

Maskill's second goal made it 12-0 and the relief around Headingley was evident in the crowd's enthusiastic reception at the interval for a team which has already brought them so much heartache this season.

With Warrington continuing to lose possession with untidy handling, the invitation was there for Leeds to extend their lead and they did so in a modest way with Schofield's 51st-minute drop goal.

When a disjointed Warrington finally threatened, through their winger, Neil Kenyon, a fine tackle from the impressive Innes slid him safely into touch. When Duane Mann kicked through, the alert Alan Tait beat him to the ball to deny Warrington again, the visitors finally getting over the line seven minutes from the end when Greg Mackey and Kevin Ellis linked fluidly for almost the first time and Mackey slithered in.

Leeds: Tait; Gibson, Edwards, Innes, Fallon; Schofield, Stephens; Molloy, Maskill (Lowes, 40), O'Neill (Anderson, 63), Dixon, Goodway, Hanley.

Warrington: Myler; Kenyon, Bateman, Rudd, Thackray (Forster, 33); Mackey, Ellis; Harmon (Tees, 53), Mann, Sumner (Harmon, 65), Sanderson, Jackson, Cullen.

Referee: C Steel (Barrow).