The proverbial game of two halfs here, as Leeds managed to look a lot like both the team that won the competition last season and also the team that has clearly been struggling over the past few months. Both sides will take some positives out of the game and both teams looked good in patches, but both teams will be worried by the inconsistency that they displayed in the game.
In the first half, Leeds were clinical and destructive. They took their chances well and looked to have regained the cutting edge that had been sorely missing in the previous month. When Brent Webb and Ryan Hall finished off long range efforts in quick succession (Hall’s was straight off the restart) it looked like the Rhinos of old were back. Hall had a very impressive first half, as did the Rhonos pack which set the tone of dominance. The Dragons simply looked shell-shocked.
The second half was a lot more rugged, and generally captivated less interest in the spectator. Catalan Dragons managed to improve their game, and suddenly a 30 point deficit became a 20 point deficit, with tries early in the second half to Kane Bentley and Olivier Elima. Had they managed to score another not long after that the game might have become interesting again, with Leeds looking pretty flat and the Dragons suddenly playing with a sense of urgency. Unfortunately they couldn’t do it, and Scott Donald’s interception killed off a game that really had died a good while before. Although Casey McGuire was able to confirm the Dragons’ position of ascendancy in the second half with a late score, it was far too little far too late.
Personally, this struck as a game in which neither side will have come out of it feeling particularly good. The Dragons were absolutely shocking in the first half, and although they should be pleased with the signs of improvement in the second half, they should feel frustrated that their first half performance essentially rendered the good work they did later on null and void. As for Leeds, the looked like they were back to their lethal best in the first half, and yet somehow managed to lose that killer edge again in the second half.