PREVIEW 🔍 Robert Crosby looks at what to expect in Sunday night's second State of Origin clash.
75 mins ago
Leeds head coach Tony Smith believes his side?s display in the 66-8 demolition of Widnes saw the Rhinos at their best for the first time this season in the Engage Super League.
The hosts scored 12 tries against a poor Vikings outfit, who kept things close in the opening stages but who were eventually outclassed and ruthlessly exposed by the champions.
The result means Leeds extend their unbeaten run in the league to 16 matches and also remain top of the table.
And Smith admitted he was delighted to see his men finally turn on the style after two narrow victories against Hull and St Helens in the past two weeks.
?We weren?t on top in that first half,? admitted Smith, who saw winger Mark Calderwood score four tries.
?We were a little down but we talked about it at half-time and that second half is the first time this year that I feel we kicked into gear.
?We felt pleased with what we were doing.
?The opposition were very good, especially in the first half, and they were a very willing team. But once that roll started it was difficult for them.?
Smith was particularly impressed with the contribution of scrum-half Rob Burrows, covering for the injured maestro Danny McGuire, as he grabbed two scores in his first start of the season.
?Rob Burrows was scary at times,? added Smith. ?I?m really pleased for him.
?He played a lot more direct and took on the opposition. I felt for a couple of people on the other side when he was coming straight at you.
?But I could say that about a lot of our players.
?I am hoping this will do us all a world of good and that we can keep going, that it gives us confidence and we can remember what it is like to play in top form.
?We haven?t really been in top form (this season). Hopefully a few other players will gain some confidence from that as well.?
Widnes head coach Frank Endacott branded his side?s tackling ?disgraceful? after they went down to their biggest ever defeat to Leeds.
?I thought we just about matched them in the first half,? said Vikings? New Zealand-born boss.
"I was confident we could come out at half-time and do a job on them but we went wrong somewhere.
?They played some of the best rugby league I have seen for some time in the second half but I honestly believe we allowed them to do that.
?I thought our one-on-one defence was disgraceful.?
But Endacott gave some encouragement to his rivals in the league by insisting the rampant Rhinos could be beaten.
?They are a very, very good side but every win they have is one closer to a loss - and I was just hoping it was going to be us today.
?It wasn?t to be but someone will (beat them).?
Thanks to: http://www.superleague.co.uk for another excellent article.