Super League: Warrington Wolves 4-40 Leeds Rhinos – Rohan Smith continues revival

Leeds were utterly dominant once David Fusitu’a put them ahead early on
Warrington (4) 4
Try: Ashton
Leeds (20) 40
Tries: Fusitu’a 2, Leeming, Hardaker, Donaldson, Handley 2, Thompson Goals: Martin 4

Leeds Rhinos blew away a disappointing Warrington Wolves to continue their Super League revival under Rohan Smith with a fourth win in five games.

Tries from David Fusitu’a, Kruise Leeming, Zak Hardaker and James Donaldson gave Leeds half-time control, with Matty Ashton’s try in reply.

Rhys Martin’s goals added to the Rhinos tally, and Ash Handley’s score out wide was too easy against a slack defence.

Bodene Thompson, Fusitu’a and Handley tries outlined Leeds’ dominance.

This loss puts more pressure on Warrington boss Daryl Powell, who was brought in to rebuild the club but has struggled to implement his overhaul – and they have now lost their last four games.

Home fans who had stayed made their feelings known at the end, and senior players Ben Currie and Mike Cooper both made their way into the stands after the hooter to speak with disgruntled spectators.

Smith’s arrival in April from Norths Devils in Australia’s Queensland Cup competition had hardly been greeted with enthusiasm by the Blue and Amber faithful.

However, his impact following on from Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s interim stint has dragged the Headingley side up the table, and their last two performances in particular against Wakefield and now the Wire have shown signs of a clicking into gear.

They had to run an early gauntlet from Warrington, who broke through on the right but were unable to take points away from those raids, but once they had a foothold from a wonderful Fusitu’a try via Leeming’s cute kick, they were scarcely threatened.

On the back of solid work from the Rhinos pack, the buzzing Leeming created panic in tandem with ex-Wolves pair Richie Myler and Blake Austin.

Myler’s tip on put Hardaker away to create Leeming’s score, while Austin’s kick was tapped down for Donaldson to cross.

It was a very different story for Warrington’s chief creators Stefan Ratchford and George Williams, the latter throwing an intercept for Handley’s second and also did not have his radar on with the boot.

The Wire lost their way completely as Leeds struck three tries without reply before the break, and their defensive effort was sorely lacking in the second half as fans’ frustration was audible.

Leeds head coach Rohan Smith told BBC Radio Leeds:

“It was a little shaky to start with, but I liked how we scrambled out of it, the most pleasing part of the evening was the amount of times people got under the ball and stopped it being put down and that gave us an opportunity to go and play.

“I liked how we played each play for what it’s worth, rather than being too structured. There was good patience, good calmness.

“It gives us a bit of belief and reason to keep working on the stuff we keep working on.”

Warrington: Widdop; Wrench, Mata’utia, King, Ashton; Ratchford, Williams; Philbin, D. Clark, Cooper, Currie, Holmes, Magoulias

Interchanges: Bullock, Davis, Mulhern, Amor

Leeds: Hardaker; Fusitu’a, Martin, Sutcliffe, Handley; Austin, Myler; Tetevano, Leeming, Oledzki, Thompson, Gannon, Smith

Interchanges: Prior, Dwyer, O’Connor, Donaldson

Referee: J. Smith.

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