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Burrow remembered as Leeds hold on to beat Leigh

Leeds celebrate Matt Frawley's try
Leeds had lost five of their past nine games coming into Friday's Super League meeting with Leigh [SWPix.com]

Betfred Super League

Leeds (12) 18

Tries: Croft 2, Frawley Goals: Martin 3

Leigh (0) 10

Tries: Moylan, Ipape Goals: Moylan

Leeds Rhinos began the post-Rohan Smith era by holding on for a well-earned Super League win over Leigh Leopards.

The hosts led at the break courtesy of a pair of Brodie Croft tries with Leigh unable to mount a response.

Leeds resisted a strong start to the second half from Leigh before further extending their lead courtesy of Matt Frawley.

Matt Moylan finally got Leigh on the board and Edwin Ipape barged through to set up a nervy finale for the Rhinos.

It was an emotional evening at Headingley for what was Leeds' first home fixture since the passing of Rob Burrow, who died at the age of of 41 from motor neurone disease (MND).

The fixture also fell on Global MND Awareness Day.

Burrow's former teammates gathered for a minute's silence pre-match while fans formed an RB7 mosaic as the players entered the field and a further minute's applause was held in the seventh minute.

Video tributes were played before and after the match, with Burrow's wife Lindsey and children given a guard of honour from the field.

Burrow's name and number was also emblazoned on the field, while Leeds also wore a special blue and orange kit designed by Cath Muir, who was diagnosed with MND in 2014.

A portion of the profit from each shirt sold will be donated to the Leeds Hospitals Charity appeal to help build the Rob Burrow Centre for MND.

Rob Burrow tribute at Headingley
Leeds Rhinos celebrated the life of Rob Burrow before and during their Super League fixture with Leigh Leopards [SWPix.com]

Leeds were also playing their first game since parting company with head coach Smith following their defeat by lowly Hull FC last weekend.

The Australian had led the club to the Grand Final in his first few months in charge but they missed out on the play-offs last term after an eighth-placed finish.

This season has been similarly disappointing, with the Rhinos seventh in the table prior to Leigh's visit.

Leeds got off the mark early on when Leigh's Ed Chamberlain was adjudged to have put in a high tackle, leading to a penalty to the hosts which they eventually worked to Croft, who touched down.

His first was well worked but his second was even better as he exploited Ipape's wayward pass to Tom Amone before running in the length of the pitch to score.

Leigh raced out of the blocks after the restart and dominated the opening 10 minutes, but Leeds went further ahead against the run of play thanks to a succession of passes to carve open the visitors' defence, leading to Frawley sliding over for their third try of the evening.

Moylan's score came following a scrum deep in the Leeds half and Leigh wasted no time in working the ball to the wing for him to race in, but he was unable to convert his own try, leaving his side with a 14-point deficit.

Ipape's score created some nerves for the home supporters but the Rhinosy held on to give assistant coaches Chev Walker and Scott Grix victory in their first game in charge.

Leeds: Miller; Fusitu'a, Momirovski, McCormack, Edgell; Croft, Frawley; Oledzki, O'Connor, Sangare, McDonnell, Martin, Smith.

Interchanges: Eseh, Littlewood, Johnson, Goudemand.

Leigh: Moylan; Hanley, Hardaker, Leutele, Charnley; Chamberlain, Lam; Amone, Ipape, Trout, O'Donnell, Halton, Hughes.

Interchanges: Norman, Davis, Dwyer, Pene.

Referee: Chris Kendall.