Leeds Rhinos 38 Salford Red Devils 16: Star man Kruise Leeming proves man for all positions

A TERRIFIC individual performance from Kruise Leeming was the highlight of Leeds Rhinos’ win over Salford Red Devils.

STAR MAN: Leeds Rhinos' Kruise Leeming celebrates his second try against Salford Red Devils Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Starting at hooker, from where he scored a brace of tries, he finished the game in the halves, following the loss of Liam Sutcliffe to a head injury which will keep him out of next Thursday’s trip to Hull.

With their biggest crowd for 16 months –10,515 – roaring them on, Leeds never looked in any danger of losing.

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Salford should have scored first, but rarely had a look in before the break, Rhinos dominating once they had grabbed the opening try. Their 20-0 half-time advantage was a fair reflection.

Leeds Rhinos' Callum Mclelland goes over to score against Salford Red Devils. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

The second 40 minutes was low-quality – hampered by ill-discipline on both sides – but it was a good win for the Rhinos who managed to outscore the opposition after the break for the first time in four games.

Krisnan Inu dropped ex-Rhino Tui Lolohea’s kick over the line after just four minutes and the hosts made the most of that stroke of fortune to storm into a 12-0 lead after as many minutes.

It was Harry Newman’s first game at Headingley since last August and it took him only seven minutes to mark it with a spectacular try. Jarrod O’Connor, Sutcliffe, Newman and Ash Handley worked the ball to Alex Mellor who turned the ball back inside to send the centre over.

Moments later, Leeming began and finished the move for Leeds’ second try, initially supplying Sutcliffe and then accepting Handley’s pass to roll over after being ankle-tapped just short.

Rhyse Martin extended the lead on 23 minutes with a long-range penalty before Leeming doubled up nine minutes before the break.

Leeds had lots of credit in the bank at half-time, but Salford scored first after the interval when Ken Sio dived over from Morgan Escare’s pass, The game then degenerated. First, Lolohea was penalised for dissent, refused to take the hint and was sin-binned. Seconds later, Salford were penalised again in front of their own posts, Seb Ikahihifo seemed intent on trying to start a punch-up – getting up into Leeds’ faces – and he was also shown a yellow card.

Rhinos scored two tries while Salford were two men down. McLelland grabbed the first, swooping over after Smith’s pass had been knocked down by a defender; then Vuniyayawa burst through a big gap in the middle.

Lolohea was in for Salford’s second touchdown within moments of his return and it was an exceelent effort with Inu adding the extras from the touchline.

Prior crawled over for Rhinos’ final try –Martin maintaining his 100 per cent record with the boot – but they finished with 12 men following the sin-binning of Myler after he failed to prevent Inu scoring a late try, which he also converted.

Leeds Rhinos: Myler, Handley, Newman, Hurrell, T. Briscoe, L. Sutcliffe, McLelland, Vuniyayawa, Leeming, Prior, Mellor, Martin, O’Connor. Replacements: Donaldson, Smith, Dwyer, L. Briscoe.

Salford Red Devils: Escare, Sio, Inu, Livett, Williams, Lolohea, Atkin, Mossop, Ackers, Ormondroyd, Wells, Pauli, Lannon. Replacements: Higano, Ikahihifo, Luckley, Roberts.

Referee: Ben Thaler (RFL)