The Leeds Rhinos ran in 11 tries Thursday, hammering the Toronto Wolfpack 66-12 in handing the transatlantic rugby league team its sixth straight defeat in Super League play.
The lopsided loss matched the most points the Wolfpack has ever conceded. The team was beaten 66-10 by Warrington in Challenge Cup play in May, 2018.
Toronto (0-6-0) was coming off a 32-0 loss at the hands of defending champion St. Helens that marked the first time the Wolfpack had ever been blanked.
The offence let Toronto down last week. This time it was the defence that was cut open repeatedly with Leeds leading 36-6 at halftime. The Rhinos outgained the Wolfpack 881 metres to 426 in the first half with Toronto missing 19 tackles.
The Wolfpack’s defence stiffened in the second half, but the damage was done.
The game at Emerald Headingley Stadium was Toronto coach Brian McDermott’s first against his former club.
Coming off a 36-0 win over Warrington, Leeds (4-1-1) extended its win streak to four games and moved atop the Super League table – at least temporarily with more games to come this week.
Captain Josh McCrone and Jack Wells scored tries for Toronto. Gareth O’Brien booted two conversions. McCrone was sent to the sin bin in the 79th minute for a professional foul as Leeds pressed for its 11th try.
Robert Lui and Luke Gale scored two tries apiece and Brad Dwyer, Richie Myler, Ash Handley, Cameron Smith, Mikolaj Oledzki, Adam Cuthbertson and Konrad Hurrell added singles for Leeds. Rhyse Martin kicked 11 conversions.
McDermott, who took over Leeds in 2011, was fired in July, 2018, after a 162-97-6 run as coach that saw the Rhinos win four Grand Finals, two Challenge Cups, a League Leaders’ Shield and a World Club Challenge.
At the time of his firing, however, injury-ravaged Leeds had lost seven straight in Super League play and nine of 12 matches in all competitions. He signed with Toronto after the Wolfpack failed to win promotion in 2018.
Leeds struck early, with Dwyer bulling his way through two tackles in the fourth minute after a Wolfpack penalty for a high tackle.
Toronto winger Matty Russell flew over in the corner three minutes later, but his foot was judged to be in touch thanks to a flying tackle by Harry Newman.
Myler made the Wolfpack pay in the eighth minute, completing a flowing move that saw a line-break by Martin and behind-the-back-pass by Gale that sliced open Toronto’s defence for a 12-0 lead.
McCrone put Toronto on the board in the 16th minute, touching down a Tony Gigot grubber kick that Leeds failed to handle. But the Wolfpack were cut open again in the 21st minute with Gale, marking his 300th career appearance, making an inside run after the Wolfpack yielded more metres to a penalty.
Leeds continued to find holes in Toronto’s offence with Lui in the 27th, offering a dummy and then running in untouched. Lui scored again in the 33rd as Leeds probed the Toronto defence until it found an opening.
Handley scored on the stroke of halftime after Leeds chipped a kick over the Toronto defenders.
Wells, on loan to Toronto from Wigan, scored in the 52nd minute after taking an inside ball with the conversion, making it 36-12. Poor tackling allowed Smith to score in the 56th after a Wells turnover.
Oledzki broke through several Toronto tackles to touch down in the 62nd minute from close range. Two minutes later, Leeds scored again with Gale finishing off a Hurrell line-break. Cuthbertson and Hurrell added tries in the final three minutes.
While Toronto missed tackles, it also made some big hits with Gadwin Springer and Ricky Leutele flooring Leeds runners.
Toronto was without the injured Darcy Lussick (hernia), James Cunningham (hamstring), Brad Singleton (knee) and Joe Mellor (hand). New Zealand international Chase Stanley, who rejoined the team this week after missing the first four games because of visa issues, did not dress.
Gigot, a French international playing on an unpaid four-week trial, started at fullback for Toronto.
Leeds was without injured fullback Jack Walker.
Toronto forwards Bodene Thompson and Anthony Mullally marked their 200th career appearances.
Toronto beat Leeds 17-16 in their only other meeting, a playoff encounter in September, 2018, when Paul Rowley was coaching the Wolfpack.