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2 hours ago
Full-back Jordan Tansey grabbed a first-half hat-trick of tries as the rampant Leeds Rhinos handed Catalans Dragons the worst defeat of their inaugural engage Super League season in a one-sided 60-12 win at Headingley.
Great Britain stand-off Danny McGuire also got among Leeds? 10 tries on his eagerly-awaited return from injury, although it was not enough to take him to the top of the engage Super League charts.
Catalans winger Justin Murphy gained some consolation for the competition?s newcomers when he grabbed his 25th try of the season to extend his lead going into the final weekend of matches.
McGuire finished the campaign on 24 but had the satisfaction of coming through his comeback match unscathed and he left to a rousing ovation when he was withdrawn after 63 minutes.
The Rhinos, who rested Great Britain forward Jamie Peacock, got off to an electrifying start with three tries in the first 10 minutes that stunned their French visitors.
It was always a damage-limitation exercise for the Dragons after that initial onslaught and, although they battled away to the end, they were hopelessly outclassed and conceded a half-century to the Rhinos for the second time.
It was a reversal in fortunes for Leeds, who never recovered from the shock of conceding three tries in the first 10 minutes at St Helens a week ago.
Tansey, who celebrated his 20th birthday last weekend, opened the scoring after only three minutes, taking an inside pass from winger Scott Donald to scoot away to the line.
Gareth Ellis and Keith Senior then combined to get winger Danny Williams over and Senior burst through Jerome Guisset?s tackle to put Tansey over for his second.
The Catalans briefly hit back, with captain Stacey Jones carving out a try for full-back Thomas Bosc, but it was a clear sign that little was going right for the visitors when Donald scored the next try from a forward pass by Clinton Toopi.
The impressive Ellis then wrong-footed the Dragons defence to touch down and, although Murphy took Teddy Sadaoui?s pass to score a well-worked try, Tansey demonstrated exceptional pace to complete his hat-trick just before the break.
It took Leeds just two minutes of the second half to add to their try tally, the ever-dangerous Senior taking a short pass from Rob Burrow to burst through a gaping hole in the Catalans defence.
McGuire showed little sign of his seven-week lay-off when he opened up the Dragons defence with a trademark combination of pace and dazzling footwork but Jamie Thackray dropped his pass with the line open.
The stand-off then provided an example of how to finish when he zipped over for his 24th try of the season after Ali Lauitiiti and Toopi kept the ball alive near the line.
Burrow, who took over the goalkicking when skipper Kevin Sinfield went off with a head wound late in the first half, added his third conversion to make it 48-12.
Sinfield then returned to the field and maintained his 100 per cent record, converting late tries from Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Williams to take his tally to seven out of seven.
Leeds: 60 (36). Tries: Tansey 3, Williams 2, Donald, Ellis, Senior, McGuire, Jones-Buchanan. Goals: Sinfield 7, Burrow 3.
Catalans Dragons: 12 (12). Tries: Bosc, Murphy. Goals: Frayssinous 2.
Leeds: Tansey, Donald, Toopi, Senior, Williams, McGuire, Burrow, Scruton, Diskin, Jones-Buchanan, Kirke, Ellis, Sinfield. Replacements: Millard, Thackray, Lauitiiti, Bailey.
Catalans Dragons: Bosc, Murphy, Khattabi, Sadaoui, Verges, Frayssinous, Jones, Griffi, Berthezene, Fellous, Guisset, Mounis, Hindmarsh. Replacements: Fakir, Chan, Beattie, Touxagas.
Referee: K Kirkpatrick (Warrington)