Leeds Rhinos 6-13 Leigh Leopards: Highlights, talking points and player ratings

Leeds Rhinos welcomed Leigh Leopards to Headingley this afternoon with the hosts knowing a win would put some pressure on those around them in the table and keep them in the playoff hunt.

As for Leigh a win would also reapply the pressure on their local rivals Wigan Warriors who sit two points ahead of them and it would also mean the Leopards headed to Wembley next week off the back of a win.

Leigh shocked many by naming a very strong side with the only key names missing out being Zak Hardaker and Josh Charnley, although Hardaker was replaced by new signing Oliver Gildart.

As for Leeds they saw hooker Corey Johnson move into the halves with Jack Sinfield named on the bench to offer cover in the halves, but the big blow was that of no Sam Walters following his epic performance last week against St Helens.


Rhinos go close early on
After Lachlan Lam had spurned an early attacking set for Leigh, the Rhinos came down the other end and saw Jarrod O’Connor held up under the sticks. They continued to pile on the pressure as the penalties stacked up but to no avail.

Ipape opens the scoring
Leigh earned themselves some territory and after forcing a goal line drop out they used that territory and repeat set with Ipape scooping up and crossing over from dummy half to make it 4-0 after 22 minutes.

O’Connor not be denied
After being held up earlier in the game, Jarrod O’Connor made sure he wasn’t denied the second time. It was a similar score to Ipape’s, a scoop from dummy half and a drive towards the line.

Leigh take the lead
The second half started with Rhinos Justin Sangare limping off but Leigh Leopards struck almost immediately to worsen Leeds’ woes. Another Ipape run towards the sticks threatened before Tom Amone crashed over to drag the Leopards in front 10-6.

Lisone sees yellow
Sam Lisone found himself in the sin bin just after the 50 minute mark after he tripped Tom Briscoe, the forward set himself for the tackle too early and flung a leg in the path of the winger. Shortly after Ben Reynolds knocked a penalty over to make it 12-6.

O’Connor denied double
Leeds got fortunate as they earned a repeat set inside Leigh’s own twenty metres and with it the crafty O’Connor darted through. Marcus Griffiths sent it upstairs as a try but footage looked to show the ball dropped over the line, enough for the video referee Liam Moore to overrule the score.

O’Brien seals the deal
With just six minutes left on the clock Leigh took the smart option by slotting the drop goal and extending the lead beyond a converted try, effectively putting the game out of sight and triggering a mass exodus of the home fans.

Talking Points

Leigh full strength
Adrian Lam backed up what he said mid week and ran with a very strong side just like he stated he would do. Both Zak Hardaker and Josh Charnley were rested but the replacement of Oliver Gildart was hardly a bad one. The gamble paid off with seemingly no injuries and two more vital Super League points.

Luke Hooley impresses
Not many Rhinos players shone in what was quite a scrappy game but Luke Hooley has clearly benefitted from a run of games and form in the Championship with Batley. Contrasted to his one other Super League appearance, away to Hull KR, it was a brilliant and assured performance at full-back.

Leeds playoff hopes falter
The Rhinos fell to another close loss but having gone into the game four points shy of the playoffs then it was close to a must win game for Rohan Smith’s men. With Hull FC winning emphatically elsewhere the chances of Leeds making the six get even slimmer

Player Ratings

Leeds Rhinos

Luke Hooley – 8
Nene Macdonald – 6
Luis Roberts – 7
Rhyse Martin – 6
Ash Handley – 6
Corey Johnson – 6
Aiden Sezer – 6
Mikolaj Oledzki – 6
Jarrod O’Connor – 7
Tom Holroyd – 6
James Bentley – 8
James McDonnell – 6
Cameron Smith – 6
Sam Lisone – 5
James Donaldson – 6
Jack Sinfield – NA
Justin Sangare – 5

Leigh Leopards

Gareth O’Brien – 7
Tom Briscoe – 6
Ed Chamberlain – 6
Oliver Gildart – 6
Tom Nisbet – 8
Ben Reynolds – 8
Lachlan Lam – 7
Tom Amone – 8
Edwin Ipape – 8
Robbie Mulhern – 8
Kai O’Donnell – 7
Jack Hughes – 7
John Asiata – NA
Joe Mellor – 6
Joe Wardle – 6
Ava Seumanufagai – 6
Matty Davis – 6