Matt Parcell continued his bright start to life in Betfred Super League to inspire Leeds Rhinos to a 38-14 victory over neighbours Wakefield Trinity.
On the day the Rhinos announced they had agreed a settlement with NRL club Cronulla over hooker James Segeyaro, his replacement Parcell ran the show as Leeds backed up last week’s demolition of Catalans Dragons.
Kallum Watkins opened his 2017 account with two first-half tries either side of Anthony Mullally’s powerful finish to give the Rhinos a commanding 20-4 half-time lead.
Ryan Hall went over early in the second period to end the match as a contest and further tries from Adam Cuthbertson and Parcell completed a comfortable win that sent Leeds back into the top four.
Wakefield could only respond through a Tom Johnstone brace and David Fifita’s try as they failed to build on back-to-back victories over St Helens and Salford Red Devils.
Good to see @leedsrhinos back on top 👍🏽— RYAN BAILEY (@BAILS168) March 17, 2017
Afterwards Chris Chester accused some of his Wakefield players of falling in love with themselves before their winning run was halted.
“We were outmuscled and outenthused all night,” said Chester. “They ran the ball a lot harder than we did and we were no match for them.
“I could tell in the first 10 minutes that we were a bit dishonest in the things we were doing. Leeds were by far the best side and it could have been a bit more had they executed a bit better.
“The standards we set eight or nine weeks ago when we discussed how we wanted to be perceived was a waste of time. We were poor straight from the kick-off and got beat by a far better team tonight.
“I can’t repeat what I said at half-time. I was very disappointed with certain individuals and the way we performed out there. Maybe a few of the guys have fallen in love with themselves after a couple of really good wins.
“We got blown away by Leeds. We couldn’t live with them. Like I said, we got outmuscled, outenthused and maybe outcoached as well.”
Rhinos coach Brian McDermott felt Parcell was the best player on the park.
“My man of the match would be Matt Parcell – I thought he was outstanding,” he said.
“While he’s not making breaks or creating many line breaks, he holds the ruck accountable and gives Danny McGuire, Adam Cuthberton and Joel Moon a bit of breathing space.”
McDermott also had high praise for Watkins, adding: “While Kallum can score tries and look flash near their tryline, his real worth to us is for the other 85 per cent of the field.
“He works extremely hard for this team. I’ve heard comments about him being quiet because he’s not scoring flash tries, but he creates a hell of a lot for us and works his nuts off for the team.
“I never thought he was out of form. I thought he was fantastic for us last year throughout a tough season.”