Leeds Rhinos Flashback: Leeds re-write the record books as they show Lions no mercy

Kevin Sinfield.
Kevin Sinfield.
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RAMPANT LEEDS RHINOS re-wrote the record books 14 years ago on Wednesday.

A routine Challenge Cup fourth round tie, on February 11, 2001, turned into an historic afternoon as Rhinos put Swinton Lions to the sword.

The 106-10 victory was Leeds’ highest-ever score and their second-biggest winning margin, after a 102-0 demolition of Coventry in 1914.

It was Leeds’ first game of the season and coach Dean Lance’s men were in buoyant mood after returning from a training camp in Jacksonville, Florida.

The clash with lower division opponents, who had almost pulled off a shock against Leeds in a 1996 Challenge Cup tie, was never a contest, but it did become a thriller in the closing stages as Rhinos closed in on three-figures.

The visitors, at Gigg Lane, Bury, were 18 points short of the century with 12 minutes left, but the target was achieved when Iestyn Harris converted debutant Bradley Clyde’s 76th minute touchdown.

The next objective was passing the previous club record points tally and Anthony Farrell’s try achieved that, Harris completing the scoring with his 17th goal, from 18 attempts. That also remains a club record. Leeds’ 18 tries was the most they have scored in an away game, though six short of the total against Coventry.

Brett Mullins, Ryan Sheridan, Andy Hay, Farrell, Sinfield and Marcus St Hilaire all crossed twice, though it was remarkable that nobody managed a hat-trick and Tonie Carroll, who was to finish that year as top try scorer with 23, didn’t get over the whitewash.

Others who did were Karl Pratt, Keith Senior, Harris, Robbie Mears, Barrie McDermott and Clyde.

The first of Swinton’s two tries – scored by Paul Loughlin after 11 minutes – levelled the scores, following an early penalty goal from Mick Nanyn.

The home team’s only other reply came on the hour through Paul Smith, making it 70-10 – though that was arguably the best try of the match.

Leeds led 46-6 at the break, but their afternoon was marred by the loss of hooker Mears, who suffered a fractured collarbone just before half-time.

He had been a big signing by the club, but was restricted to just 24 appearances in his only season at Leeds – though the positive for Rhinos was that his injury problems handed an opportunity to young academy prospect Matt Diskin.

The record win was also a rare moment of joy for Lance, who was sacked just two months later, following a third succesive defeat and replaced by youth boss and ex-player Daryl Powell.

Leeds Rhinos ' Keith Galloway.

Leeds Rhinos’ Keith Galloway stays upbeat despite injury blows