Late tries from Danny Walker and Krisnan Inu saw Widnes Vikings beat a depleted Leeds Rhinos outfit.
Brian McDermott made seven changes to his Leeds side that lost in the World Club Challenge to Melbourne Storm last week. Ashton Golding, Harry Newman, Ash Handley, Josh Walters, Cameron Smith, Mitch Garbutt and Mikolaj Oledzki came in for the injured Jack Walker, Tom Briscoe, Ryan Hall, Joel Moon, Adam Cuthbertson, Carl Ablett and Stevie Ward.
Denis Betts made three changes to his Widnes side that lost to Warrington Wolves last time out. Ed Chamberlain, Wellington Albert and Ted Chapelhow replaced Olly Ashall-Bott, Chris Houston and Greg Burke.
Widnes had a good opportunity to score in the first five minutes as they made a break down the left but a knock-on from Danny Craven saw the chance squandered.
The Vikings had another great chance to take the lead in the 13th minute as they had numbers on the left but Craven couldn’t keep hold of the ball.
But the hosts did break the deadlock midway through the first half. Wellington Albert got an offload away to Joe Mellor who scampered through a gap in the Rhinos defence to score. Tom Gilmore couldn’t convert but Widnes were 4-0 up.
Leeds took the lead for the first time in the 32nd minute. Brad Dwyer scored his first try for the club after joining the Rhinos from Warrington in the off-season. Kallum Watkins added the extras to put his side 6-4 in front at the break.
The game got a little bit fiery after the restart, with Hep Cahill being sent to the sin bin for fighting after a brawl broke out in the 42nd minute.
Inu took a fine kick across field from Gilmore with ease and put Widnes back in the lead. Inu converted his own try to give the home side a 10-6 advantage.
The Vikings thought they were in again when Inu went over but the referee said he was held up.
The Rhinos were denied a try on the hour mark as Richie Myler dived over but it was pulled back for an obstruction in the build-up.
Inu extended Widnes’ lead in the 65th minute. The New Zealand international added a penalty after Leeds were caught stripping the ball.
Craven edged the Vikings into a seven-point advantage with just eight minutes remaining after adding a drop-goal.
Walker all but sealed the win for the Vikings in the 75th minute, with the promising hooker barging over the line following a quick dart from dummy-half, Widnes 17-6 Leeds.
Inu capped a fine display by scoring at the death. He charged over the line, carrying three Leeds players with him. He converted his own try to secure a 23-6 victory for the Vikings.
Widnes: 1 Hanbury; 24 Chamberlain, 15 Craven, 3 Inu, 2 Marsh; 6 Mellor, 7 Gilmore; 25 J Chapelhow, 33 Heremaia, 13 Cahill; 14 Dean, 12 Whitley; 16 Olbison. Subs: 23 Walker, 36 W Albert, 26 T Chapelhow, 17 Wilde.
Leeds: 1 Golding; 26 Newman, 3 Watkins, 18 Keinhorst, 22 Handley; 4 Sutcliffe, 7 Myler; 11 Jones-Buchanan, 9 Parcell, 10 Singleton; 30 Walters, 15 Delaney; 23 Ormondroyd. Subs: 27 Smith, 14 Dwyer, 17 Garbutt, 28 Oledzki.
Starman: Krisnan Inu