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Friday, 29 March, 2002, 22:43 GMT
Rhinos win Headingley battle
Leeds skipper Francis Cummins was sin-binned
Leeds skipper Francis Cummins was sin-binned
Leeds 42-20 Halifax

Tonie Carroll grabbed a hat-trick of tries as Leeds held off a spirited challenge from Halifax to climb to second place in Super League.

The Rhinos, down to 11 men at one stage after the sin-binning of captain Francis Cummins and substitute Wayne McDonald, led by just four points with18 minutes left.

But three tries in a blistering nine-minute spell, including two from the impressive Carroll, ensured they claimed a remarkable victory.

I won't condone speaking back to the ref and what Wayne McDonald did was unacceptable
Leeds coach
Daryl Powell

Leeds made the best possible start, with eight points in the first six minutes.

Stand-off Ben Walker kicked a fourth-minute penalty, the first of nine successful kicks from as many attempts, and then provided the pass that sent second rower Andy Hay over for the opening try.

A high kick from Adrian Vowles set up the position for Leeds' second try on 18 minutes, Carroll re-gathering to touch down for his first after Blue Sox defender Colum Halpenny had spilled the ball.

The visitors launched their fightback on 24 minutes when Andrew Dunemann's high kick bounced kindly for winger Robbie Beckett to score.

And three goals from Danny Tickle, who was also in immaculate form with the boot, cut the gap to just four points.

Disallowed try

It would have been even closer had Halifax been able to finish off a superb break by lively centre Stuart Donlan.

But Leeds soaked up the pressure and hit their visitors with a magnificent counter-attack.

Keith Senior underlined his claim to be Super League's form centre when he broke out of defence and sidestepped past full-back Daryl Cardiss to send winger Karl Pratt over.

Leeds were reduced to 12 men when Cummins was sin-binned for dissent in first-half injury time.

Prop Jim Gannon actually crossed the line following a break by the influential Dunemann with 13 seconds left on the clock but referee Bob Connolly disallowed the try for a debatable forward pass.

We played the game like Halifax wanted to play it.... when we started playing our own way, we looked good
Daryl Powell

Walker kicked two penalties early in the second half to stretch the Rhinos' lead to 24-10, but they found themselves down to 11 men when McDonald joined Cummins in the sin bin for dissent.

Halifax forward Jamie Bloem then became the third player to be shown the yellow card after he was penalised for obstruction.

The video official was called on for a fourth time on 51 minutes when Tickle stretched out of a two-man tackle to plant the ball on the line - and this time the decision went in Halifax's favour.

Senior then raced 70 metres to the line after picking up a loose ball but had the try disallowed for a late tackle.

Two more penalties from Tickle made it 24-20 and set up a tense finish.

But the game swung dramatically away from the visitors when Carroll demonstrated his exceptional power against a tiring defence to claim two tries in four minutes.

Substitute Rob Burrow also made light of some uncharacteristic wafer-thin tackling to race in for the Rhinos' sixth try.

Leeds: Cummins, St Hilaire, Carroll, Senior, Pratt, B. Walker, Sheridan, Fleary, Vowles, McDermott, Hay, Adamson, Sinfield. Replacements: Burrow, C. Walker, McDonald, Poching.

Halifax: Cardiss, Beckett, Woods, Donlan, Halpenny, Dunemann, Clinch, Gannon, Lawless, Goldspink, Tickle, Bloem, McMenemy. Replacements: Hobson, Flowers, Birchall, Thackray.

Referee: Robert Connolly (Wigan).

BBC Sport's Alastair Yeomans
"This was a very good contest"
Leeds coach Daryll Powell
"Halifax had us under real pressure"
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