Magic Weekend: Five star McGuire inspires Leeds win

Danny McGuire scored five tries as Leeds continued their perfect record at the Magic Weekend with a 37-22 win over Bradford.

The Rhinos had to withstand heavy pressure from the Bulls for much of the second half, before Carl Ablett‘s try eventually broke their resolve and ensured Leeds would make it six from six at the annual event since its inception in 2007.

Bradford had a nightmare start with prop Craig Kopczak forced off injured after the first tackle of the match, and they completed that set with Luke Gale kicking out on the full.

It set the platform for McGuire’s first try, but by the time the Leeds stand-off crossed for his second 20 minutes later, Bradford had registered three tries of their own.

First Elliott Whitehead, then Ben Jeffries crossed for the Bulls, before Matt Diskin‘s controversial score was allowed to stand, despite hints of a knock-on in the build up.

Any grievances the Rhinos may have had with that try were soon forgotten, when the officials failed to spot an apparent forward pass by Brent Webb in the build-up to McGuire’s next try, and the teams went in 18-18 at the break.

McGuire’s fourth came seven minutes in to the second stanza, and it was a typical Leeds score. Richard Moore carried the ball forward and offloaded to Kevin Sinfield, who put McGuire in around the full back and under the sticks.

At 24-18, the ball was in Bradford’s court, and for 20 minutes they were virtually camped in the Rhinos half, but no matter how much they huffed and puffed, they couldn’t find a way through.

When Sinfield claimed Gale’s kick in to the in-goal area, and set Ryan Hall away, Leeds were on the front foot, and they took advantage when Ablett exposed a weak left hand side defence to all but win the game at 30-18 with 11 minutes to play.

Sinfield nudged over a drop goal before putting McGuire in for his fifth, and there was still time for Bradford to finally trouble the scorers in the second half, as Welsh international winger Elliot Kear twisted his way over the whitewash.

The win lifts the Rhinos above their derby rivals and in to the top eight.

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