DOGS DO ENOUGH | A gutsy second half comeback wasn't enough for the Dragons last night as Canterbury...
14 hours ago
Leeds opened their Challenge Cup campaign by outclassing Leigh to romp to a routine victory at the Coliseum by 36-12.
Last year?s runners-up were kept at bay by their National League One opponents but took control with first-half tries from Kevin Sinfield, Lee Smith, Keith Senior and Gareth Ellis.
Further tries from Smith, youngster Ashley Gibson - the Rhinos? only change to their starting line-up - and Richard Mathers wrapped up a safe passage into Tuesday?s fifth round draw.
Aaron Heremaia and Misili Manu restored some pride for the hosts with each touching down in the final 18 minutes.
Two hours of rain before kick-off left a lot of surface water on the Coliseum pitch and both sides struggled to get to grips with the conditions in the early stages.
Leigh had an opportunity in the seventh minute when Chris Feather?s attempted offload gifted them possession outside the Leeds 20 but captain Julian O?Neill was unable to find a gap on the right.
And around the quarter-hour mark Leeds began to peg the home side back.
Leigh defended doggedly but eventually hooker Matt Diskin managed to prise an opening for Sinfield to stroll into and touch down under the posts before adding the extras.
The boisterous home crowd were doing their best to unsettle Leeds? star-studded line-up and were given more cause to voice their opinion when referee Steve Ganson refused to give a knock-on against Leeds 30 metres from their own line.
And from the same set of six, Leeds advanced on the right before Diskin fed Mathers and the full-back?s cut-out pass to the left wing allowed Smith to stroll in for a 27th-minute score.
Sinfield converted and Leeds reinforced their dominance in the 35th minute when Ali Lauitiiti laid the ball off to Senior, who bundled his way over from close range.
The pair then combined again in the 39th minute, with Lauitiiti?s offload giving Senior the chance to charge down the left.
The Great Britain centre was stopped 20 metres out, but after play switched to the right, Ellis touched down from Rob Burrow?s grubber kick.
Sinfield?s third goal made it 22-0 but not even the interval could revive the Centurions as within four minutes of the restart, Danny McGuire created the space for Smith to saunter through for his second try.
McGuire was again the provider six minutes later after Ellis? break and offload, and 19-year-old Gibson, playing right centre, capped his first senior start by pouncing on McGuire?s kick wide to score.
Leigh finally got themselves on the scoresheet in the 62nd minute after Paul Rowley?s break set up the field position.
O?Neill kicked into the in-goal area for scrum-half Heremaia to touch down before adding the extras.
Mathers was then found in acres of space in the 71st minute to stroll over on the left, while Manu touched down after a 90-metre sprint in the final minute.
Leigh (0) 12
Tries: Heremaia, Manu
Goals: O'Neill 2
Leeds (22) 36
Tires: Smith 2, Senior, Gibson, Ellis, Mathers, Sinfield
Goals: Burrow, Sinfield 3
Leigh: Grix, Manu, Grundy, Hughes, Greenwood, O?Neill, Heremaia, R. Bibey, Rowley, C. Hill, Taylor, Glassie, Roberts.
Replacements: Halliwell, Sykes, Wilson, Stevens.
Leeds: Mathers, Donald, Gibson, Senior, Smith, McGuire, Burrow, Peacock, Diskin, Feather, Kirke, Ellis, Sinfield.
Replacements: Lauitiiti, Scruton, Bailey, McAvoy.
Referee: S Ganson (St Helens)