The Debrief: Leeds Rhinos get job done, Jordan Abdull’s kicking, four cards shown

Drew Darbyshire
Ash Handley Leeds Rhinos Alamy

Leeds Rhinos bounced back from last week’s defeat at Hull KR with an 18-10 victory over Catalans Dragons at Headingley.

The Rhinos led 10-2 at the break thanks to first half tries from Ash Handley and Harry Newman. Catalans hit back in the second half through Chris Satae before Handley sealed the win for the Rhinos with his second on 66 minutes.

Leeds’ clash with Catalans wasn’t short of talking points, from four cards being shown, Jordan Abdull’s kicking game to Leeds getting the job done, Love Rugby League has picked out a few in The Debrief.

Leeds get the job done

It wasn’t the best performance we’ve seen from the Rhinos – but they got the job done and that’s the main thing. This may well have been a game that Leeds lost in the past, but they found that second wind in the second half, defended well and showed their resilience to get the two points.

Brodie Croft showed more glimpses of what he can bring to Rohan Smith’s side. He gave the hosts plenty of direction and came up with several smart plays to get his side on the front foot.

It was another strong performance from the skipper Cameron Smith, too. He had a lot thrown his way by a big Catalans pack, but he held his own, and got through a lot of hard work in the middle. Impressive displays from Harry Newman and Ash Handley (again) on the edges as well.

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Abdull’s impeccable kicking

Jordan Abdull Catalans Dragons Alamy
Jordan Abdull in action for Catalans

The 28-year-old was unlucky to be on the losing side given his performance with the boot. We all know how strong Abdull’s kicking ability is – he’s one of the best in the competition with his in-game kicking and he brought that to Headingley today.

Abdull was at the heart of everything that Catalans did with the ball, mainly due to his kicking, but he also guided Steve McNamara’s side around the park very well.

Many people were surprised when Abdull made the season-long loan move to Perpignan prior to the season starting, but he looks to be a very shrewd signing for the Dragons.

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Four cards shown

It’s been a big talking point in the early rounds of the season, hasn’t it? There were four cards shown at Headingley – one for Leeds and three for Catalans – all yellows.

Catalans forward Tariq Sims was sent to the sin bin in the first half for making contact to the head on Harry Newman, who was awarded an eight-point try in the act of scoring the Rhinos’ second try of the game. Meanwhile, Leeds’ Justin Sangare and Catalans’ Jordan Dezaria were sent for 10 minutes in the second half for also making contact to the head. Dragons prop Romain Navarrete was shown a yellow in the closing stages for interference at the play-the-ball.

The three yellows for head contacts probably would have been reds in the opening round, so it’s good to see the punishments are less severe following the framework amendments earlier this week.

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