London Pulse 38 Leeds Rhinos 40 - Dan Ryan’s side fightback to snatch victory
Leeds Rhinos stole a 40-38 win off a youthful London Pulse squad at the Studio 001 Arena, despite being down by two goals at half-time.
London Pulse did not fail to put pressure on the Rhinos’ usual starting seven and took off with the early lead, while the Yorkshire team tried to find their feet.
With no options at centre pass, Pulses’ attacking end - restricted by Emily Hollingworth’s defence - were forced to recycle many balls.
Some dropped balls, delayed take-offs and easy interceptions gave Pulse several opportunities to take the head start.
There were a few changes to Dan Ryan’s squad at the start of the second quarter, Paige Kindred was replaced by Tuaine Keenen as goalkeeper, and Brie Grierson was swapped for Amelia Hall at wing attack which saw a fluid Rhinos team then begin to hold Pulse back.
Down by two goals at half-time, Rhinos had their eyes on the prize; speeding up cleaner passes, flawlessly executing shots and sticking closer to their opponents - there was certainly a noticeable change in the Rhinos’ tone.
Hall effortlessly fed the circle with direct balls to Rhea Dixon, who was waiting patiently under the post as Sienna Rushton was left sandwiched by Pulses’ tactic of a double mark.
The attacking partnership turned the game around in Rhinos’ favour, giving them the advantage going into the final quarter, as Pulse - despite their best efforts - were unable to draw the Rhinos back in.
Another substitution for the Rhinos saw the refreshed legs of Grierson welcomed back on court for the final contest as Leeds established a two-goal cushion before closing out the game.