Featherstone Rovers and the Leeds Rhinos met in the second round of the Women’s Super League with the reigning Champions looking to record their second win at the start of the 2021 season while Rovers hoped for a better showing after suffering a heavy defeat to Castleford Tigers in their opening fixture.
Belle Vue in Wakefield was the venue for a double header with the Rhinos being big favourites to take the two points and move to the top of the table, at least until Saints played their game later on in the afternoon.
A mistake from Featherstone saw the Rhinos in the lead after three minutes with great strength from Orla McCallion scooting from dummy half and getting the ball onto the ground, far too simple an opening try. Courtney Hill added the conversion and the Rhinos were off and running.
Two minutes later Tara Moxon found space on the overlap to sprint in for a thirty metre try, hugging the right touchline. Hill was unable to covert from the touchline but the signs for Fev’ were ominous.
There were just nine minutes on the clock when Ellie Oldroyd bust a tackle and went twenty metres to score under the sticks. This time Hill kicked the extras for a 16-0 lead.
A good period of pressure from Rovers proved fruitless and the next time the Rhinos worked the ball downfield Fran Goldthorp was on hand to take a fast pass and stoop to score in the corner. Hill failed with the touchline conversion, but with seventeen on the clock the Rhinos were 20-0 ahead.
Within two minutes, and on the kick-off return a great try created by a Goldthorp break saw the ball moved wide with Adoaha Akwiwu going in to score wide. The try scorers were making it difficult for Hill and she missed another conversion.
On twenty-two Akiwuwu added her second picking up a bounce pass to again score in the corner. Once again the try was in the corner but this time she added the conversion from the touchline. Leeds already 30-0 ahead with twenty-five minutes on the clock and totally dominant.
Hannah Butcher was next in line to score as she shrugged off the tacklers and ran twenty to score. Hill added the conversion to take the score to 36-0, the game already a rout.
A dummy and drop of the shoulder from Caitlin Beevers rounded off the Rhinos scoring for the first half and kept the scoring average at a point a minute. Hill added the conversion for a 42-0 helaf time lead.
The Rhinos had been devastating in the first forty and only a late rally from Featherstone, slowed the scoring.
Three minutes after he restart Chloe Kerrigan opened Leeds second half scoring as she took a pass from Hill to fend off her tackler and force the ball to ground. Hill couldn’t find the target, but Leeds were heading for fifty.
As the rain fell, on fifty-eight minutes, Oldroyd got her second as the Featherstone defence tired and she went through five tacklers to score by the right upright. Hill added one of her easiest conversions of the afternoon for a 52-0 lead.
A tremendous strong run from Butcher on sixty-six gave her a brace as two tacklers failed to stop her grounding. Hill added the conversion as the Rhinos piled the points onto a tired Rovers.
A Hill pass found Courtney Robinson who dropped to her knees and scored from five metres out. Hill couldn’t add the conversion from wide on the line, small mercy for Fev’.
Goldthorp got her second on seventy-three after chasing and collecting a delightful Hill kick over the top to run the last ten metres and ground. Hill couldn’t add the extra two as the Featherstone agony continued.
Zoe Hornby brought up the seventy for the Rhinos and when Hill added the conversion the final score was 72-0 to a superb Rhinos.
From the kick-off there was only going to be one winner as the Leeds Rhinos dominated Featherstone Rovers and seemingly scored at will. The Rhinos have now averaged over seventy points in their opening two games and set out their stall to defend their crown in 2021.
Featherstone Rovers: Bulman, Billington, Courtman, Copley, Reynolds, Hepworth, Grace, Churm, Newby, Teece, Hammond, Kennedy, Hazell. Subs: Butler, Smith, Matthews, Watt.
Leeds Rhinos: Beevers (T), Moxon (T), Robinson (T), Kerrigan (T), Goldthorp (2T), Butcher (2T), Hill (8G), Johnson, McCallion (T), Priim, Staveley, Frain, Hornby (T). Subs: Nuttall, Oldroyd (2T), Hulme, Akwiwu (2T).
Referee: Andy Sweet.
Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, 0-10, 0-14, 0-16, 0-20, 0-24, 0-28, 0-30, 0-34, 0-36, 0-42 : HT : 0-46, 0-50, 0-52, 0-56, 0-58, 0-62, 0-66, 0-70, 0-72 : FT.