Super League: Leeds Rhinos beat Warrington Wolves at Headingley
Last Updated: 21/02/14 11:10pm
Zak Hardaker: two tries for Leeds
Zac Hardaker scored two tries as Leeds Rhinos made it two wins from two in Super League XVIIII with an 18-12 victory over Warrington Wolves at Headingley.
Last year's Grand Finalists Warrington took the lead early on with a try from Joel Monaghan but just as at St Helens last week, they could not capitalise on a fast start as they slumped to a second successive defeat.
Hardaker levelled the contest after scooping up Tom Briscoe's grubber kick, then returned the compliment with a superb flat pass inside his own half which sent the England winger racing clear to score.
Hardaker's strong finish on the hour mark gave Leeds breathing space and Ben Westwood's late score set up a frantic finish, but the Leeds defence held firm.
As against St Helens, Warrington opened the scoring through prolific winger Monaghan, who read the wind superbly to collect Gareth O'Brien's high kick and juggled with the ball before scoring his third try in two matches.
Stefan Ratchford added the goal to give his side a 6-0 lead after 10 minutes but that was the signal for Leeds' outside backs to show their class.
Kallum Watkins was a constant threat on the right, with Ratchford on the spot to halt one of his breaks, and Briscoe demonstrated his kicking skills to set up a try for Hardaker midway through the first half.
Left winger Ryan Hall, overshadowed by his England colleague Briscoe, put a foot in touch as he attempted to squeeze over at the corner and Hardaker narrowly failed to touch down Danny McGuire's grubber kick on the last tackle.
Warrington, who had another escape when McGuire's pass to an unmarked Briscoe sailed into touch, could not get out of their own half and Leeds' pressure duly told four minutes before half-time when the former Hull flier scored his spectacular try, taking Hardaker's flat pass with a perfectly-timed run and wrong-footing Ratchford before holding off Ben Currie's last-ditch effort.
Kevin Sinfield added both conversions to put his side into a 12-6 lead and Watkins almost added to it within two minutes of the re-start when he was hauled down just short of the tryline.
The visitors improved after the break and O'Brien applied some pressure to the Leeds line but Ratchford was propelled backwards by Hardaker after looking for all the world like a tryscorer.
Hardaker then provided a lesson in finishing by scything through a hesitant Wolves defence to score his second try on 56 minutes and Sinfield kicked his third goal to open up a 12-point lead which was the least the Rhinos deserved.
Sinfield struck an upright with a drop-goal attempt before hobbling off and Warrington scored a consolation try four minutes from the end when second rower Westwood forced his way over from close range.
Ratchford's second goal cut the gap to just six points and the Wolves could have snatched a draw had O'Brien not been brought down just short of the line.
First Utility Super League
Thu 21st May
Castleford Tigers16 - 24Huddersfield Giants
Fri 22nd May
Hull FC10 - 17St Helens
Leeds Rhinos36 - 16Hull K R
Salford Red Devils18 - 34Warrington Wolves
Sat 23rd May
Catalans Dragons58 - 16Wigan Warriors
Sun 24th May
Wakefield WildcatsLiveWidnes Vikings
Sat 30th May
Salford Red DevilsvsWidnes Vikings
Hull FCvsHull K R
Leeds RhinosvsWigan Warriors
Sun 31st May
Catalans DragonsvsHuddersfield Giants
St HelensvsWarrington Wolves
Castleford TigersvsWakefield Wildcats
Thu 4th Jun
Widnes VikingsvsHull FC
Fri 5th Jun
Hull K R0 - 0Castleford Tigers
St Helens0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Warrington WolvesvsCatalans Dragons
Sun 7th Jun
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Wigan Warriors
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Thu 11th Jun
Leeds RhinosvsCastleford Tigers
Fri 12th Jun
St HelensvsWigan Warriors
Sat 13th Jun
Catalans DragonsvsHull FC
Sun 14th Jun
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Hull K R0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Thu 18th Jun
Castleford TigersvsSt Helens
Fri 19th Jun
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Sat 20th Jun
Catalans DragonsvsWakefield Wildcats
Sun 21st Jun
Hull K R0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Hull FC
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Thu 2nd Jul
Warrington WolvesvsWigan Warriors
Fri 3rd Jul
Leeds RhinosvsSt Helens
Sun 5th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Hull K R
Hull FC0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Thu 9th Jul
Wigan WarriorsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 10th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Sun 12th Jul
Hull FC0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Hull K R
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 16th Jul
Warrington WolvesvsSt Helens
Fri 17th Jul
Hull K R0 - 0Hull FC
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 18th Jul
Catalans DragonsvsHuddersfield Giants
Sun 19th Jul
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Jul
Hull FCvsWigan Warriors
Super League 2014, round two
Wigan Warriors can reach the Super League summit on Wednesday when they host Widnes Vikings at the DW Stadium.
Leeds Rhinos full-back Zak Hardaker has started the new Super League season like a man on a mission.
Daryl Powell feels there is still more to come from his Castleford side despite seeing them thrash Catalan Dragons.
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