Super League: Defending champions Leeds Rhinos beat London Broncos 30-18
Last Updated: 01/08/13 11:21pm
Paul McShane climbed off the bench to notch a brace of tries as defending champions Leeds Rhinos beat London Broncos 30-18 in Super League.
But at least the rock-bottom hosts restored some pride - running in three tries in the defeat - after their 70-0 mauling by Wigan in the Challenge Cup semi-final last time out.
Fourth-placed Leeds' third win on the bounce sees Brian McDermott's side move to within three points of leaders Huddersfield.
For the hosts, coach Tony Rea made a number of changes as his side looked to recover from their demolition against the Warriors, installing Ryan Shaw at centre, Chris Melling on the left wing and Mike McMeeken in the second row.
Leeds skipper Kevin Sinfield was making his 500th appearance in the game, while the Rhinos welcomed Kallum Watkins back into the starting ranks, with McShane slotting in among the replacements.
There was a sombre mood before kick-off as both sides observed a minute's silence in tribute to former Leeds coach Graham Murray, who passed away last weekend.
And Leeds seemed determined to pay their own tribute on the field, Jamie Peacock muscling over on five minutes after Ryan Hall had gathered Rob Burrow's kick.
Inside 15 minutes the Rhinos had their second score, former London loanee Ben Jones-Bishop sneaking in at the corner after Watkins had shown great hands to release the winger.
But at least London were showing some fight this time around, Luke Dorn putting the Broncos on the board three minutes later when he stepped inside to dart over.
A third Leeds try was not too long in the offing though, Jones-Bishop turning provider when he created the space for youngster Alex Foster to stroll over.
The Broncos cut the gap three minutes after the break, Dan Sarginson powering over after Jamie Soward injected some pace into the London attack.
There was then a lengthy delay after Foster collided with a post trying to tackle Dorn, the Leeds player forced to leave the field.
Both sides were still trying to chance their arm with the ball in hand, Leeds moving back to two scores ahead on 55 minutes when McShane burrowed over from dummy half.
London heads dropped after that, McShane adding his second five minutes later as Leeds eased clear.
To their credit though the Broncos were still giving it their all, Ben Fisher tacking on a third London try when he wriggled over on 65 minutes.
Hall then had a try for Leeds chalked off by the video referee for obstruction but the visitors still eased to victory.