Handley has debut to savour as Wigan crash

Rugby League

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The Independent Online

Teenager Ash Handley scored on his home debut as Leeds moved to within two points of Super League leaders St Helens with a hard-fought 26-14 win over Wigan in front of a bumper 18,350 crowd at Headingley last night.

Handley, drafted in for only his second senior appearance as a replacement for shoulder injury victim Tom Briscoe, was among five different tryscorers as the Rhinos overcame the absence of skipper Kevin Sinfield to condemn Wigan to a third defeat in six matches.

Liam Sutcliffe proved an able deputy for the injured Sinfield, scoring a try and kicking three goals, but Leeds’ hero was Australian prop Adam Cuthbertson, who also scored a try and proved a real handful for the visitors with his powerful running and skilful ball handling.

Leeds, who handed a recall to full-back Zak Hardaker pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation, were good value for their fifth win of the campaign but could never relax against their injury-hit opponents.

Hull rounded off a week to forget for Catalans in East Yorkshire with a 33-22 victory at the KC Stadium. The French outfit were tipped by many as outsiders for the Super League crown but they are showing few signs of shaking off the travel sickness which has held them back in previous years.

Catalans, who were thumped 50-20 at Hull KR last time out, drew first blood through Vincent Duport but a sloppy error allowed Marc Sneyd to score his first Hull FC try and the hosts kicked on with further scores from Jordan Rankin, Steve Michaels and Fetuli Talanoa.

Thomas Bosc pounced on a mistake on the stroke of half-time but Tom Lineham’s double put the game out of the Dragons’ reach.

Castleford picked up their second win of the season by beating Salford 30-16.