Leeds Tykes 53 Preston Grasshoppers 21: Leaders claim comfortable victory
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Tries from Jack Lightowler and Tyler Spence did little to weaken the blow as table-topping Leeds showed why they remain unbeaten this season.
Hoppers were coming off the back of a stirring comeback to draw against Hull last weekend and Will Hunt gave them an early lead with a straightforward penalty after four minutes.
Leeds responded through captain Adam Brown, who dotted down from a rolling maul for the opening try.
Hoppers’ fly-half Hunt slotted another penalty before the hosts scored again, Harry Jukes going over in the right corner despite a suspicion of offside in the build-up.
Lightowler restored Preston’s lead after he broke through two tackles in touching down, to the delight of a healthy travelling support.
Hoppers’ woes when defending mauls continued with Henry MacNab profiting from Leeds’ physical dominance to dive over.
Hunt added another penalty for the visitors, but two minutes later, Charlie Venables secured a bonus for Leeds after latching onto a kick through.
Preston went down to 14 men when referee Dan Woods sinbinned Ally Murray for technical foul play before Venables got his second try to make it 29-14 at the interval.
Jukes then scored two tries in seven minutes for a hat-trick, firstly linking up with Tom Williams to score under the posts before a quick tap sent the flying winger away down the left to cross in the corner.
The Leeds speedster had his fourth try on 65 minutes when miscommunication by Hoppers at a lineout saw the ball spilled, which allowed Tobi Ademakin to break and offload for Jukes to run free down the left and score.
Venables wrapped up his hat-trick with two minutes left after a lovely backs move saw him touch down in the right corner.
Jacob Browne’s persistence allowed Spence to score a consolation try, but it was not enough to appease Keay.
He said: “We need to toughen up mentally and find a better mindset.
“Once someone squeezes us, (we) just lose a bit of toughness – and it’s not toughness just physically, it’s mentally. We’ve had a few words in the dressing room.”
Hoppers now have two weeks off before they host Sheffield Tigers.