SUPER League champions Leeds sounded a battle cry with a notable win at St Helens.
England winger Ryan Hall scored two tries and made another for prop Kylie Leuluai as the Rhinos bounced back in style from their World Club Challenge defeat by Melbourne with a 20-12 success at Langtree Park.
“It was always going to be a big ask to come here and perform,” said coach Brian McDermott. “But we performed and the fact that we got a convincing win makes it even more encouraging.”
It was Leeds’ first away win over Saints for five years and it left the home side still looking for a first home win under coach Nathan Brown.
The consolation for Brown was a sparkling debut by 18-year-old centre Mark Percival, who caught the eye with a series of long-range breaks and set up two consolation tries for his winger Francis Meli.
“He looked good, a natural player,” Brown said.
The match went ahead despite another closure of the M62 motorway which caused major disruption.
The Leeds team arrived at Langtree Park after making a cross-country detour but the kit arrived only five minutes before kick-off while Brown was forced to make a last-minute change to his line-up when West Yorkshire-based forward Alex Walmsley was unable to get there on time.
It came a fortnight after traffic chaos forced the postponement of the Hull-Bradford game.
Salford’s Leeds-based winger Jodie Broughton was also caught up in the hold-up and missed his side’s 38-4 defeat by the Broncos which dumped them to the bottom of the table.