Leeds 32 – 22 Catalans


Catalans Dragons were leading 22-8 at half-time at Headingley as they looked set to claim another victory; second half tries for Richie Myler, Jarrod O’Connor, Derrell Olpherts, Tom Holroyd and Harry Newman secure the points and a 32-22 win for the home team

Last Updated: 25/03/23 3:36pm

Derrell Olpherts celebrates his late try as Leeds fought back against the Dragons

Derrell Olpherts celebrates his late try as Leeds fought back against the Dragons

Harry Newman sealed a stirring second-half fightback as Leeds Rhinos handed Catalans Dragons their first defeat of the Betfred Super League season in a pulsating encounter at Headingley.

Newman’s 75th-minute try, after Richie Myler’s burst over the halfway line, completed a 32-22 win that was fashioned in improbable circumstances after Newman had been sent to the sin-bin early in the second half.

With the Rhinos trailing by 14 points at the time, there were long odds on Rohan Smith’s men wresting anything from a game in which they had often proved to be their own worst enemy in the opening period.

But instead it galvanised them into launching a stunning revival with Myler and Jarrod O’Connor both touching down during Catalans’ power-play before further tries from Derrell Olpherts, Tom Holroyd and finally Newman himself sealed the win.

Story of the game

Newman had scored the Rhinos’ opening try on five minutes, made by a superb looping pass from Blake Austin, after Tom Davies’ acrobatic dive into the corner gave Catalans the lead.

Rhyse Martin, revelling in his unfamiliar role at centre, beat Arthur Mourgue to his own kick to put the Rhinos in front, then both Nene Macdonald and Newman again came close as the hosts pressed.

It threatened to mark the turning point as Adam Keighran found it too easy to skip over for Catalans’ second on 24 minutes, before Mitchell Pearce, making his first appearance of the season, burrowed just over to extend the French side’s lead.

Rhinos fans vented their spleen over big-screen replays that did not conclusively show that Pearce had reached the line, and their mood did not improve when Zane Tetevano’s apparent touchdown was denied by a marginal forward pass from Myler.

Leeds put on a strong show in the second 40 as Aidan Sezer crossed the whitewash

Leeds put on a strong show in the second 40 as Aidan Sezer crossed the whitewash

Five minutes from the break, the otherwise impressive Martin was punished for a ridiculous offload attempt as he was pushed backwards over the try line, Manu Ma’u pawing the loose ball to Paul Seguier who stretched Catalans’ lead.

It took Newman’s yellow card to stir the hosts, Myler skipping through and O’Connor bustling over from dummy half, before Leeds further reduced the deficit when Martin’s opportunistic steal sent Austin galloping away and Olpherts went over in the corner.

Harry Newman was in fine form in the second half after his sin-binning

Harry Newman was in fine form in the second half after his sin-binning

Only Martin’s peculiar failing with the boot – he missed his first five conversions – left Leeds still trailing, but not for long as an Austin 40/20 resulted in Holroyd finding a gap on 67 minutes to put his side in front.

Aidan Sezer, relieving Martin of kicking duties, made it 26-22, and Newman’s second try made certain for Leeds, before Martin was given the chance to finally kick a successful conversion at the sixth attempt.

What’s next?

Leeds Rhinos are back in action on Friday March 31 as they pay a visit to Hull KR, live on Sky Sports Arena with kick-off at 8pm. Catalans Dragons are back at home on Saturday April 1 as they welcome the Castleford Tigers, with kick-off at 5pm.





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