Leeds 37-12 Leigh: Rhinos end difficult season on a high
By Matthew Treadwell
Last Updated: 23/09/16 8:16am
Leeds Rhinos have finished top of the Super League Qualifiers table after easing past already-promoted Leigh Centurions 37-12 at Headingley Carnegie.
Both sides went into Thursday night's game knowing they would be competing in Super League next season, with the visitors looking to secure their seventh straight victory in the Qualifiers.
But Leeds, who have improved in recent weeks following a humbling season that saw last season's treble winners forced to scrap for their top-flight survival, gave their opponents a lesson in finishing and composure to run out comfortable winners.
The opening exchanges were hard-fought, with neither side managing to get on the scoreboard until Brett Ferres played a dummy and nipped over in the corner 14 minutes in for the hosts.
Some great work from the Leigh defence meant Jimmy Keinhorst was held up just in front of line but he was not to be denied and after Jones-Buchanan had won a penalty, Keinhorst slipped through a gap to touch down.
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Keinhorst, whose form has been one of the bright spots of a difficult season for the Rhinos, doubled his tally soon afterwards after former Leeds player Lee Smith knocked on to allow Keinhorst to go over in the corner.
Brian McDermott's side showed their commitment to the cause as their defence combined to deny Matt Dawson as he attempted to ground the ball, with James Segayaro showing his pace to deliver another four-point score.
A poor kick from Joshua Drinkwater was gathered by Segayaro and after racing almost the length of the field, the hooker blew a cheeky kiss at the chasing Smith before diving over in the corner, with Kallum Watkins converting after recording three missed attempts.
Sam Hopkins did cross before the break, with Martyn Ridyard adding the extras, to offer Leigh some hope as they went into the interval 18-6 down.
A fractious start to the second half saw Centurions duo Drinkwater and Danny Tickle spoken to by the referee as poor discipline threatened to derail their challenge.
Leeds took advantage, with Ashton Golding going in under the posts following some neat interplay, before Joel Moon got in on the action when he slipped over, with Watkins kicking both conversions.
The visitors belatedly showed their class as a slick passing move allowed Dawson room on the left flank to power over the line, with Ridyard bisecting the posts with a glorious kick.
But Leeds had the final say, Tom Briscoe adding his name to the list of try-scorers before Watkins slotted his third kick conversion of the game, with Moon slotting a drop-goal with the final play of the contest as the Rhinos won the newly-inaugurated Bev Risman Trophy.
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