Crusaders Kick Off

Crusaders Kick Off

Defending engage Super League champions Leeds started the new season by beating the Warriors opening opponents Crusaders 34-6 at the Racecourse Ground on Friday night.

The new-look Crusaders pushed the champions for an hour in an encouraging opening as Super League arrived in Wrexham, along with the wintry weather.

Brian Noble's hastily-assembled team made light of their lack of preparation by going toe-to-toe with Leeds for most of the game, much to the delight of a full house of 10,334.

The crowd was around 4,000 more than the Welsh club managed to attract to any of their games in Bridgend and most would have been sufficiently encouraged by the initial offering to return.

Crusaders took an early lead with Michael Witt's penalty goal and, after going behind to a soft try from Leeds winger Scott Donald, hit back to level through Gareth Raynor's try after 28 minutes.

It was still 6-6 until two flashes of brilliance from stand-off Danny McGuire turned the game Leeds' way.

He finished off a superb counter-attacking move from young full-back Kallum Watkins, deputising for the rested Brent Webb, to score a 65-metre try and then put second rower Ali Lauititi over for the first of his double.

As Crusaders tired, the champions took full advantage by running in three more tries from Brett Delaney, Kevin Sinfield and Lauitiiti.

Wigan Warriors versus Crusaders RL takes place at the DW Stadium on Friday at 8pm. Tickets are available from the DW Stadium Ticket Office, the Ticket Hotline on 0871 66-33-552 and online by [clicking here].

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