MATCH REPORT – Thunder 52 – 8 Leeds Rhinos

Newcastle Thunder made light work of a youthful Leeds Rhinos side at Kingston Park Stadium on Sunday afternoon, as Simon Finnigan’s team ran in ten tries to take a 52-4 win from their final pre-season friendly.

It was a result that owed a lot to a dominant second half, as the hosts were restricted to just a 16-4 half-time lead after being made to work hard by a side made up mainly of academy players who harried their hosts and forced them into handling errors that stopped Newcastle from building momentum.

Starting steadily, Thunder were 12-0 up on their visitors in the opening 10 minutes through a quick-fire brace of tries that had Adam Lawton at the heart of them both.

The giant forward was the provider for the first as a smart play allowed him to send Reece Dean away towards the try line after just six minutes. Still with work to do, the half-back had to power his way through the Leeds cover defence but managed to cross for a try which he converted.

Switching from provider to scorer three minutes later, Lawton took a simple try as sharp hands from the play the ball allowed Brad Walker to play the former Salford man to cross for a simple try.

Leeds were sticking to their task and after a steady 10 minutes used their pace to open Thunder up and allow fullback Iwan Stephens to get over the line but a penalty for obstruction ensured that possession was handed back to the hosts

It gave them the platform from which to score their third try of the day and it again came from some precise passing, with Quentin Laulu Togaga’e’s putting a bullet out to Ashley Gibson, with the ex-Leeds man striding across to take his side to a 16-0 lead.

Having shown plenty of endeavour throughout, the youthful Rhinos had the last say of the half through Iwan Stephens. The Under 19s top try scorer had been a menace throughout used his pace to finish off good contributions from Oli Burton and Field.

A rapid start to the second half saw Lawton again use his imposing physical presence to reach out and score before the floodgates began to open with three further tries in the space of 10 minutes as Lawton bagged his hat-trick in between scored for Bob Beswick and Lewis Young.

Coming off the bench, academy youngster Alex Donaghy put in an assured display on his first senior team outing since last January, with a pair of well-taken tries and some impressive line breaks, before Newcastle went over for their final try of the day through Togaga’e.

There was time for a final try for the visitors, which was richly deserved for the way they had applied themselves throughout as Liam Tindall finished off a move sparked by fullback Stephens for a consolation score.

Newcastle Thunder

Lewis Young, Joe Brown, Ashley Gibson, Kieran Gill, Alex Clegg, Quentin Laulu Togaga’e, Reece Dean, Brenden Santi, Bob Beswick, Mikey Wood, Adam Lawton, Rhys Clarke, Brad Walker, Sam Blake, Evan Simons, Kieran Hudson, Jake Lightowler, Rory Nettleton, Colton Roche, David Weetman, Ollie Gowing, Alex Donaghy, Sean Croston, Dan Coates, Jed Charlton

Tries – Dean (6), Lawton, (9, 42, 55)  Gibson (27), Beswick (51) Young (60) Donaghy (66, 71) Laulu Togaga’e (77)

Goals – Dean 6/8, Coates 0/1, Donaghy 0/1

Leeds Rhinos

Iwan Stephens, Liam Tindall, Corey Hall, TJ Barton, Joe Barton, Harry Anderson, Jack Mallinson, Rian Rowley, Oli Burton, Tyler Dupree, Luca Atkinson, Ben Mayhew, Loui McConnell, Coby Nichol, Nathan Snee, Lewis Delaney-Holmes, Joe Hird, Harvey Whiteley, Oliver Field, Muizz Mustapha.

Tries – Stephens (38) Tindall (80)

Goals – Stephens 0/1, Mallinson 0/1