Leeds Rhinos Women’s Academy made a resounding statement to the rest of the league with a commanding display, scoring an impressive fourteen tries and overwhelming Huddersfield Giants in a one-sided 72-4 triumph.
The Rhinos wasted no time in breaking the deadlock, with Ruby Enright seizing an opportunity just two minutes into the game. Exploiting a mistake from Huddersfield, the full-back swiftly collected the loose ball, exhibiting her skill and agility as she jinked and stepped her way over 30 meters to score under the posts. Kiera Gittins successfully converted, setting the tone for an exceptional performance.
Enright continued to be instrumental in the following tries. Shortly after her first, she took advantage of an unsettled Giants’ defence following a break from Tilly Davies, securing her second try of the evening. Enright then turned provider, creating an overlap that allowed Davies to touch down in the corner.
Lily Thompson and Mayzi Carter extended the Rhinos’ lead to 22-0 after 20 minutes. Thompson received a superb offload from Gittins to cross the try line, while Carter capitalised on a moment of unstructured play between her and Thompson, with both tries expertly scored in the right-hand corner.
Huddersfield managed to find their way onto the scoreboard, temporarily halting the Rhinos’ momentum. Taking advantage of a couple of unforced errors, Erin Bentley crossed the line on the left edge. However, the conversion was missed, reducing the Giants’ deficit to 18 points.
Leeds quickly regained their try-scoring form through Emily Fitzpatrick. The loose forward broke through the defence seamlessly, covering 35 meters before touching down under the posts. Gittins, consistent with her kicking prowess, added her second successful conversion of the evening, increasing the Rhinos’ lead to 28-4 as they entered halftime.
The Rhinos resumed the match with an explosive start to the second half, with Enright showcasing her class once again. Just after the break, Enright completed her hat-trick with a sensational try. Diffusing a high bomb, Honey Oxtoby offloaded to Enright, who skillfully manoeuvred across the field, finding a gap on the left touchline and sprinting over 60 meters to score a remarkable effort. Gittins confidently converted, extending the lead to 30 points.
Two more rapid-fire tries ensued, further solidifying Leeds’ dominance. Brooke Henderson finished off an impressive team move as the ball was shifted left, scoring the first of the two tries. The second came from Faye Barraclough, who emulated Enright’s breathtaking try by embarking on a solo run from her own 40-meter line. Barraclough opened a gap on the right touchline and sprinted untouched all the way to the try line. Gittins added the extra points, extending the Rhinos’ lead to a commanding 40 points.
Enright continued to make her presence felt, securing her fourth try of the evening. Gittins’ grubbed kick caused confusion on the Giants’ line, and Enright was quick to react, touching down before a brief pause from the referee confirmed the try. Gittins’ conversion propelled the Rhinos to the half-century mark with 15 minutes remaining.
Despite their already overwhelming lead, Leeds maintained their dominance. Additional tries from Fitzpatrick and Cheryl Foudji propelled the Rhinos to a staggering 60 points. Lauren Exley’s impressive run allowed her to offload to Fitzpatrick, who scored her second try of the evening. Meanwhile, a powerful carry from Foudji saw her cover 30 meters to cross the try line.
Second tries for Davies and Henderson concluded the scoring onslaught. Davies broke through the 40-meter line, evading the full-back with a dazzling display, while Henderson’s second try saw the ball expertly shifted out left. Using a deceptive show-and-go move, the centre fooled the Giants’ defence and scored 15 meters wide of the posts. Gittins converted both tries, sealing Leeds’ emphatic 72-4 victory.
The dominant fourteen-try performance by Leeds Rhinos Women’s Academy sends a clear message to the rest of the league, showcasing their formidable skills and leaving their opponents in awe. The Rhinos have set a marker down as they establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with this season.