A Leeds Rhinos side on the back of a big win against Warrington, welcomed a winless Toronto Wolfpack to Headingley with Brian McDermott returning to Leeds for the first time since his departure back in July 2018.
Toronto conceded the first penalty of the game to give Leeds good field position and the Rhinos were not slow in showing Toronto how to make the most of their chances.
Brad Dwyer jumped out from hooker and broke through the tackle of Gadwin Springer to score his second try in as many weeks.
The Wolfpack crossed the line almost instantly, as a knock-on from Robert Lui from the kick-off gave the visitors an attacking scrum.
The ball was spread from the right wing out to the left and Matty Russell extended and dived over in the corner. However, Harry Newman produced a wonderful try-saving tackle to stop the former Warrington man.
Leeds punished their opponents with a swift counter attacking try. It all started when Robert Lui released Rhyse Martin into a huge gap and after passing the ball onto Luke Gale, the half-back produced a wonderful behind the back, switch pass to make-shift full-back Richie Myler who scored under the posts.
The Wolfpack did manage to get on the board though, albeit controversially. A kick behind the line from Tony Gigot on the third tackle and the bouncing ball, on first glance appeared to bounce forward off Hakim Miloudi before Josh McCrone dotted the ball down. Referee Liam Moore awarded the try without the use of the Video Referee and on the replay it showed that Moore was correct in his judgement.
The Rhinos pushed their lead back to 12 only a minute later with a perfectly executed training ground move. An inside ball from Robert Lui to Brad Dwyer left the Rhinos with a two-on-one against Gigot. Dwyer was being dragged down and passed to Luke Gale who slid under the posts.
On 26 minutes, Robert Lui picked up his first try of the season. The half-back had been threatening the Toronto defence all night and with Rhyse Martin drawing Bodene THompson out wide, Lui ghosted inside and picked his try.
The Rhinos, just like last week, were ruthless going forward and exploiting every gap in the Toronto line. They kept the ball alive and Harry Newman was the man who stepped inside to create even more space, and he popped the ball to Lui who picked up his second in just five minutes.
With half-time approaching, Leeds decided that leading 30-6 wasn’t enough for them and just as the hooter blew scored their sixth try. After a cute kick ahead from Rhyse Martin, Harry Newman picked the ball up on the volley and offloaded with one hand, inside to Ash Handley for four more points.
Rhyse Martin converted all six tries in the half as Leeds led by 30 at the break.
HALF-TIME: Leeds Rhinos 36-6 Toronto Wolfpack
The Toronto defence held firm at the start of the second-half and the visitors even managed to pick up the first points of the period.
After 11 minutes of back and forth between the two sides. Wigan-loanee, Jack Wells received a nice inside ball from McCrone and raced away to narrow the Rhinos lead.
Leeds wouldn’t allow the Wolfpack to take control of the game though, as Adam Cuthbertson offloaded to Cameron Smith who held off the Toronto defenders as normal service resumed.
An eighth try if the night followed for the Rhinos as Mikolaj Oledzki powered over the top of Gadwin Springer and Tony Gigot to stretch over the line and score.
In the very next attacking set, Gale picked up his second try of the game, and over 1500 Super League points in the process.
The try came after Konrad Hurrell shrugged off Miloudi on the right edge and passed inside to Luke Gale to score.
The scoring didn’t end there either for the Rhinos, as Adam Cuthbertson bundled his way over the line for the home sides tenth try of the night.
A final try came in the last minute, as Konrad Hurrell battered his way through a tired looking Wolfpack defense for try number 11.
A dominant display from Leeds, who go to the top of the table for the first time in over 1600 days.
FULL-TIME: Leeds Rhinos 66-12 Toronto Wolfpack
Myler, L. Briscoe, Newman, Hurrell, Handley, Lui, Gale, Seumanufagai, Dwyer, Oledzki, Mellor, Martin, Prior
Interchanges: Cuthbertson, Smith, McLelland, Donaldson
Tries: Dwyer, Myler, Gale (2), Lui (2), Handley, Smith, Oledzki, Cuthbertson, Hurrell
Goals: Martin (11/11)
Gigot, Kay, Wallace, Leutele, Russell, O’Brien, McCrone, Sidlow, Ackers, Springer, B. Thompson, Williams, Wilkin.
Interchanges: Mullaly, Olbison, Miloudi, Wells
Tries: McCrone, Wells
Goals: O’Brien (2/2)
Referee: L. Moore
Touch Judges: T. Grant, D. Bowmer
Video Referee: C. Kendall