Super League: Danny McGuire scores as Leeds Rhinos beat Catalan Dragons 20-12
Last Updated: 30/08/13 10:35pm
The returning Danny McGuire scored a late try to help Leeds Rhinos clinch a hard-fought 20-12 victory over the Catalan Dragons on Friday night.
A Ryan Hall try had given Leeds a half-time lead, but the Dragons hit back in the second period and threatened to leave Headingley with the points as Lopini Paea and Olivier Elima touched down to put them ahead.
But Mitch Achurch's excellent try saw the hosts get their noses back in front and McGuire - making his first appearance since breaking his leg in May - put the result beyond doubt as he touched down Kevin Sinfield's kick.
Leeds showed their attacking intent by collecting the ball from their own kick-off as the match got underway, but the Dragons matched that ambition as they also demonstrated a willingness to throw the ball around in their own half.
In the 26th minute, following an error by the Dragons, tempers flared and as a result Leeds' Ryan Bailey and the Dragons' Damian Blanch were sin-binned by referee Phil Bentham.
One minute later Ryan Hall showed his intelligence by exposing the blindside in Blanch's absence, and he raced down the side-line from dummy-half and stepped inside Catalan's Brent Webb for the opening score.
Sinfield converted, and on the back of an epic run by Joel Moon, the Leeds' captain added a penalty goal before the break to earn his side an 8-0 interval advantage.
At the start of the second half Vincent Duport earned his side great field position after a penalty and, camped on the Rhinos' line, Scott Dureau provided an excellent short pass for Paea to cross after he rounded Leeds' Zak Hardaker with some neat footwork.
Bosc reduced Leeds' lead to two points with the conversion, but Leeds regained the momentum and went close when Brad Singleton was held up.
However, Elima barged over from close range for Catalan moments later to give the French side the lead as he exposed some poor defence by the hosts, before Bosc converted for a four-point Dragons' lead.
An Elliott Whitehead interception had the Dragons on their way again, and when Leeds were penalised Bosc had a chance to extend the visitors' lead, but he missed the penalty goal and it proved costly.
Leeds dominated a frantic period of the game late on and they punished the French side with eight minutes remaining when Liam Sutcliffe sent Achurch on his way as the big prop raced through to score.
Sinfield converted to give the home side the lead and he then created McGuire's late score which sealed an intense success.