THE TREBLE looks a tall order for Leeds Rhinos after they were embarrassed 46-16 in Perpignan today.
With two games to play, Leeds remain top of the First Utility Super-8s, but only on points difference from Wigan Warriors.
It was Rhinos’ second successive defeat since their Challenge Cup final drubbing of Hull KR and unless they improve massively, the league leaders’ shield will be heading to DW Stadium.
Rhinos trailed 18-0 at the break and didn’t get points on the board until the 60th minute. Dragons, who can’t qualify for the semi-finals, ran in eight tries, several of them off catastrophic Leeds errors.
It was a dire team performance by Leeds, who looked low on energy, made a series of basic mistakes and didn’t threaten on attack until the final quarter.
An interception led to the opening try for Thomas Bosc, who also converted. Krisnan Inu and Todd Carney crossed before the break and Bosc, Inu, Jordan Sigismeau, Lima and Elliott Whitehead added second half touchdowns.
Scott Dureau booted five conversions and prop Lima rubbed salt into Leeds’ wounds by landing the final goal.
For Rhinos, Ryan Hall crossed from Joel Moon’s long pass and Danny McGuire scored a fine try off an Adam Cuthbertson offload and Brad Singleton and McGuire combined to put Moon over on the final play.
Kevin Sinfield converted the second and third tries, on his 35th birthday.
Rhinos were without Jimmy Keinhorst, who has a suspected fractured cheekbone and will visit a specialist on Monday.
Rhinos boss Brian McDermott said he could not fault his side’s effort, but he admitted it was a poor performance.
“I was a tough day, it is a tough one to take,” he said.
“Clearly our defence wasn’t where it should be and we made too many errors.
“Catalans can do that to you. They have a lot to play for and one or two things came off for them, which gave them momentum and when they had momentum we never really got it back.”