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Super League: Liam Sutcliffe’s hat-trick sends Leeds Rhinos to semi-finals with 20-10 win over Catalans Dragons

Rhinoceros center Liam Sutcliffe ran in three tries as the visitors won at Stade Gilbert Brutus in the first game of this year’s play-offs; Catalans fouled Mitchell Pearce twice, Michael McIlorum was also shown a yellow card and Gil Dudson sent off

Last updated: 09/09/22 11:15 PM

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Highlights from the Betfred Super League play-off match between Catalans Dragons and Leeds Rhinos.

Highlights from the Betfred Super League play-off match between Catalans Dragons and Leeds Rhinos.

A hat-trick of tries from Liam Sutcliffe helped Leeds Rhinos to the semi-finals of the Betfred Super League when they beat Catalans Dragons in Perpignan 20-10.

Two penalties from Sam Tomkins had put the Catalans ahead despite the hosts sending Mitchell Pearce to the sin box for the first time, with the Australian also being shown a late yellow card for dissent. However, two converted tries by Liam Sutcliffe saw the Rhinos take a 12-4 lead at halftime.

Dean Whare’s converted try in the second half put the Dragons within easy reach, but Leeds took advantage as Michael McIlorum became the hosts’ second player to take the sin as Sutcliffe finished for his third try of the evening, with the visitors seeing the match to set up a trip to St Helens or Wigan Warriors in the semi-finals.

The defeat ensured there would be no repeat of last year’s Grand Final appearance for the French side and it was a disappointing end to Gil Dudson’s time at Perpignan, including before moving to Warrington Wolves, as he had to finish within the last five. minutes a red card was shown.

Story of the game

Leeds missed their suspended top scorer Rhyse Martin and expected Leeds to face off against a near-full of Catalans.

But they were completely dominant, especially early on with two tries from Sutcliffe and a strong loose forward display from Cameron Smith as they secured a spot in the semi-finals.

After a period of intense early pressure with Richie Myler, Blake Austin and James Bentley on the offensive, space was created for Leeds scrum half Aidan Sezer to reach across the line in the 12th minute, only before video referee Ben Thaler ruled he was the ball had fallen.

Catalan Dragons: Try – Dean Whare; Goals – Sam Tomkins (3).

Leeds Rhinos: Tries – Liam Sutcliffe (3); Goal – Zak Hardaker (4).

Leeds center Liam Sutcliffe makes the break and switches quick passes with Richie Myler to race away and finish for the first try of the game.

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Leeds center Liam Sutcliffe makes the break and switches quick passes with Richie Myler to race away and finish for the first try of the game.

Leeds center Liam Sutcliffe makes the break and switches quick passes with Richie Myler to race away and finish for the first try of the game.

The Catalans were awarded a series of penalties that kept the Rhinos in the lead for much of the first half, and a few scuffles increased the intensity of the game, including Dragons stand-off Pearce who was sinfully discarded for his part in a melee .

Nevertheless, the Catalans took the lead with a penalty from fullback Tomkins in the 26th minute and he added a second four minutes later, but Sutcliffe responded with a try after a clever play with Myler. Zak Hardaker’s conversion pushed Leeds ahead 6-4.

Sutcliffe added a second try just before half time when he caught a fallen kick and fell over the line to score. Hardaker added the conversion again to make it 12-4 at halftime.

The Dragons struck back in the first set of the second half as Pearce launched a side kick and Whare was the first to collect and score from close range, Tomkins converted to narrow the gap to two points.

Liam Sutcliffe gets his third try of the evening as Leeds extend their lead over the Catalans.

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Liam Sutcliffe gets his third try of the evening as Leeds extend their lead over the Catalans.

Liam Sutcliffe gets his third try of the evening as Leeds extend their lead over the Catalans.

Substitute Sam Kasiano punched holes in the Leeds defense and the temperatures rose even higher when Michael McIlorum was scapegoated after 60 minutes for a high tackle on Bentley.

Two minutes later, Leeds took advantage of the extra man as Sutcliffe’s high kick from the air to the ground plucked over the line for his hat-trick, Hardaker’s conversion pushed the Rhinos up front 18-10.

The flashpoints and flare-ups continued until the last horn, but the Leeds defense held up as the Dragons threw everything at them as the clock ticked. A red card to the Catalans propped Dudson for a headbutt on Sezer five minutes from time, further denting the Catalans’ ambitions as Leeds held onto the win.

Then Pearce followed Dudson to the locker rooms after harsh words with Referee Child, who offended him for the second time in the game. Hardaker converted the penalty to complete the score as last season’s runner-up exited the play-offs.

What they said

Catalans Dragons head coach Steve McNamara

1662789319 875 Super League Liam Sutcliffes hat trick sends Leeds Rhinos to semi finals 1662789319 875 Super League Liam Sutcliffes hat trick sends Leeds Rhinos to semi finals

“We didn’t play well enough. We spent most of our time defending our try-line… we worked really hard, but we did it with 12 men for a fair part of the game.

“There was an enormous amount of frustration from our players and I think frustration has taken over.”

Leeds Rhinos head coach Rohan Smith

1662789320 218 Super League Liam Sutcliffes hat trick sends Leeds Rhinos to semi finals 1662789320 218 Super League Liam Sutcliffes hat trick sends Leeds Rhinos to semi finals

“I thought we were very controlled – I thought we were in control for most of the game.

“Who knows [what Leeds can achieve this season]? We have a difficult road and I don’t know who to go to next week, but it will be difficult.

“We’ll dust ourselves off, play another fresh team and see how we go.”

What’s next?

Leeds will travel to League Leaders’ Shield winner St Helens on Saturday 17 September (1pm kick-off) as the lowest placed team remaining if Huddersfield Giants win Saturday’s play-off game.

However, the win for Salford Red Devils at John Smith’s Stadium means the Rhinos will go to Wigan Warriors on Friday, September 16 (8:00 PM). Both semifinals are live on air sports.

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