Quins RL fell to a fourth consecutive defeat in Leeds last night as they were made to pay for a slow start to the game which saw the Rhinos take a 12 – 0 lead after just ten minutes. Brian McDermott was forced into a late reshuffle of his side following the withdrawal of standoff Scott Hill with a bout of flu, moving Mark McLinden to the halves and Chris Melling back to the fullback slot where he began the season.
Danny McGuire opened the try scoring capitalising on a dropped ball from Melling, a couple of minutes later Brent Webb was to add the second following some slick team play. Both tries were converted by Leeds skipper Kevin Sinfield.
Quins did manage to string together some good play in the middle of the first half, with Melling making up for his earlier mistake by taking a pass from Chad Randall to cross for the visitors only points of the half.
A third try was to come Leeds way in the final ten minutes of the half, again from Danny McGuire courtesy of some smart running from his halfback partner Rob Burrow. Sinfield added his third conversion to an earlier penalty goal to lead his side into the break with a 20 – 4 advantage.
Things got worse just after the break when Webb added his second try of the match, following up a kick from winger Ashley Gibson. Sinfield added his fifth goal of the match to take the Rhinos out to an impregnable 26 – 4 lead.
Quins to their credit did not crumble and bounced back with McLinden engineering a try for wing Matt Gafa. Henry Paul added the conversion to take the score to 26 – 10.
There were to be no further scores till the last ten minutes of the game when Sinfield added a second penalty, confirming that the game was out of reach. A late try from Paul Sykes, converted by captain Rob Purdham offered little more than consolation.
McDermott will be hoping that next weekends game away to Pia in the Challenge Cup will mark a turning point for his side, from which they can return to winning ways. Wins against lower competition sides in last seasons Challenge Cup were a key trigger in building the confidence of the Quins side as they went on to display some good form in the closing stages of the Super League campaign.
Leeds: (20) 28
Tries: McGuire (2), Webb (2)
Goals: Sinfield (6)
Harlequins RL: (4) 16
Tries: Melling, Gafa, Sykes
Goals: Paul, Purdham