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Leeds hold off Leigh for Super League win

Press Association logoPress Association 17/02/2017 Ian Laybourn

Leeds got off the mark in the Super League after coming from 8-0 down to beat promoted Leigh 17-14 in a nail-biting finish at the Sports Village.

Most of the points came inside the first 14 minutes with the Rhinos hanging on desperately in a frantic finish to leave the Centurions still looking for their first win of the season.

Leeds, who had skipper Danny McGuire on the bench on his return from injury, lost prop Australian Mitch Garbutt just before kick-off with illness and gave a debut to former Featherstone forward Jack Ormondroyd.

Leigh coach Neil Jukes rang the changes following his side's opening 44-16 defeat at Castleford, bringing in Frenchman Antoni Maria for his debut and recalling ex-North Queensland back Willie Tonga, Ben Reynolds, Jamie Acton and Sam Hopkins.

Winger Matty Dawson opened the scoring on four minutes, taking a cut-out pass from halfback Josh Drinkwater and fullback Mitch Brown added a second three minutes later following an offload close to the line by Reynolds.

Reynolds was unable to add either conversion and after the early Centurions onslaught subsided, Leeds began to establish a stranglehold on the game.

Australian Prop Adam Cuthbertson was the catalyst for the Rhinos' response, crashing through for a try within a minute of entering the action from the bench.

While ex-Manly hooker Matt Parcell also caught the eye with a lightning break which enabled second rower Carl Ablett to get winger Ryan Hall over for a second try.

When coach Brian McDermott brought Parcell off for a rest on 29 minutes, he had the luxury of being able to introduce McGuire into the halves, with Rob Burrow switching to hooker.

Centre Jimmy Keinhorst, a replacement for the injured Joel Moon, forced his way over for Leeds' third try eight minutes before the break and Burrow would have claimed a fourth had he been able to take Hall's pass with the line breached.

Liam Sutcliffe was able to convert only one of his side's tries but he coolly slotted a 40-metre drop goal on the stroke of halftime to open up a 15-8 lead.

Leigh were temporarily down to 12 men when substitute Acton was sin-binned for a professional foul on winger Tom Briscoe but Leeds were unable to take advantage.

Leigh blew the game wide open on 67 minutes when centre Ben Crooks forced his way over for his side's third try and Reynolds made it third time lucky with the conversion attempt.

Crooks then went close to grabbing a second before second rower Atelea Vea was hauled down a foot short of the line on the last tackle.

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