Krisnan Inu scored two tries as Widnes Vikings took advantage of Leeds’ injury woes to inflict more misery on the Rhinos at Halton Stadium.
Brian McDermott’s side had lost on their previous three visits and they arrived on Sunday without 12 first team players following their trip Down Under for the World Club Challenge against Melbourne Storm.
The depleted Rhinos produced a gutsy performance but Widnes eventually wore them down to earn their second win of the Betfred Super League season with a 23-6 success.
Joe Mellor put Widnes in front but Brad Dwyer darted over for his first try for Leeds to give the visitors a 6-4 half-time lead. Inu went over and added two goals before Danny Craven’s one-pointer ended the Rhinos’ resistance.
Young hooker Danny Walker crossed and Inu scored his second to add gloss to the result and make it a weekend to forget for Super League’s globetrotters following defeats for Wigan Warriors and Hull FC on their returns from Australia.
McDermott insisted his side had enough time to recover after watching his Rhinos team lose for the fourth successive visit to Widnes and admitted they played into the home team’s hands once again.
“Everyone talks about the travel but it’s not the worst thing in the world.
“We’ve got a million staff taking care of them and while it would have had an affect and I wasn’t expecting a 10 out of 10 performance, that was still disappointing.
“The late changes were the disruptive ones. Ryan Hall with his tonsillitis and Tom Briscoe with a sciatic problem in his back. They were Saturday when they pulled out and we’ve then got no time to prep. But even taking all that into account, it was a disappointing performance.
“We ended up playing a version of the game which suited them, and you could easily go back to what we’ve said here in each of the last three years. They’re a tough team who don’t give in.”
WATCH: The Captain, Joe Mellor, reflects on an emphatic victory for the Vikings. pic.twitter.com/jzIt6MjCYX— Widnes Vikings (@WidnesRL) February 25, 2018
Widnes boss Denis Betts hailed the victory over the reigning Super League champions and believes his side deserved to collect maximum points.
“It’s a great win,” he said. “You’ve got to give Leeds credit because they’re a champion side and you’ve got to play well to beat them.
“We made some mistakes in the first half which would have hurt us in the past. But we’ve got a bit more resilience in us this year.
"We kept churning out the things we do and we eventually got a well-deserved result.”