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Leeds 38 Widnes Vikings 4
12:28am Saturday 15th March 2014 in Sport
THE Vikings were brought down to earth with a bump as they succumbed 38-4 to Leeds Rhinos at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.
If the result was hard enough for Widnes fans to take, the news that scrum-half Joe Mellor suffered a dislocated shoulder will double the pain.
Widnes went into the game on the back of three consecutive wins in the First Utility Super League.
But they came up against a Leeds a side that was as ruthlessly efficient on attack as they were enthusiastic in defence.
They also came up against a team that adapted to testing conditions much better than they did.
The Rhinos had a howling wind at their backs in the first half which they used to pepper the Vikings with high kicks.
Still, Widnes stuck to their task and may not have been too despondent at half-time having only conceded two tries to winger Ben Jones-Bishop to trail 10-0.
However, things started to go south literally from the kick-off of the second period.
The Rhinos regathered their own kick into the wind and from the resulting pressure Kallum Watkins danced his way over for a six-pointer.
Definitely not what the doctor ordered.
For a while it looked like the Vikings might fight their way back into the contest as Leeds struggled to make headway into the wind, but the home side's goalline defence was outstanding.
They hit Widnes with another sucker punch on 51 minutes when Ryan Bailey backed up a midfield break to score from 25 metres.
At 22-0 the game was in the bag and the Rhinos never looked back.
A superb sixth tackle play brought a try for Kevin Sinfield and he was quickly followed over the whitewash by Rob Burrow and Jamie Jones-Buchanan.
To their credit, the Vikings never threw in the towel.
Winger Paddy Flynn, who had a torrid time fielding kicks earlier in the piece, twice thwarted opposite number Tom Briscoe with tackles at the corner.
Widnes registered a consolation score when fullback Rhys Hanbury went over from close range with six minutes remaining.
Not exactly back to the drawing board for the Vikings, but certainly a reality check.
Leeds: Hardaker; Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Moon, Briscoe; McGuire, Sinfield; Leuluai, Burrow, Peacock, Ward, Ablett, Delaney. Subs: Aiton, Jones-Buchanan, Achurch, Bailey.
Widnes: Hanbury; Flynn, Phelps, Dean, Owens; Brown, Mellor; Clough, Clarke, Gerrard, Galea, Tickle, Leuluai. Subs: White, Isa, Kavanagh, Lloyd.
Referee: R Hicks Attendance: 14,413