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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Leeds Rhinos 42 Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 20

15th September 2012

By Leeds Rhinos

The Rhinos booked their place in the next round of the play offs with a hard earned 42-20 win over Wakefield at Headingley Carnegie.

The Wildcats came into the game on the back of seven consecutive wins, including victory over Leeds at Rapid Solicitors Stadium back in July.

WP – Home MPU

The visitors included a number of former Rhinos in the rank including Grand Final winners Ali Lauitiiti, Richard Mathers and Lee Smith however as a club it was only their fourth Play off game in the club's history. In contrast, the Rhinos were playing their 37th Play off fixtures since the Grand Final came in in 1998. Of those game, 15 had been at Headingley Carnegie with the Rhinos winning ten of those fixtures.

The opening exchanges were as intense as you would expect from a game that would mean the end of the season for one of the sides. Kylie Leuluai set the tone with a thundering tackle in the first few minutes and there was not let up after that.
Leeds had a couple of good chances early on but it was Wakefield who hit the front after fifteen minutes when Ben Cockayne was released with a bullet pass from dummy half that left the Rhinos defence flat footed and the winger scored. Paul Sykes was off target with his conversion attempt by the visitors led 4-0.

Both teams had opportunities after that. Ryan Bailey appeared to be stripped of the ball under the shadow of the Wildcats post in a two man tackle and then Cockayne was pulled back for a forward pass by Sykes that was a tough call on the Wakefield man.

Jamie Peacock was then penalised for attempting to get a quick play the ball with a defender on his back. However, it was the visiting fans who were feeling aggrieved soon after when Kallum Watkins broke clear and put Rob Burrow away for an equalising try despite cries from the massed ranks on the Western Terrace for a forward last pass. Sinfield added the conversion to put his side in front after 24 minutes.

Wakefield, who had won their last seven Super League games to seal eighth spot in the table, came back again and hit the front when Lee Smith, on his first return to Headingley Carnegie, put Cockayne away down the touchline. He supported the break and then took the return pass to score. Sykes was on target this time to give his side a 10-6 lead after 32 minutes.
The Wildcats could have extended their lead but for a fine piece of play by Sinfield, he tracked a break by Cockayne and batted his pass back to Hardaker when the Wakefield man looked to put his support runner through the gap.

The Rhinos hit the front again with the last play of the first half and it came from a breath taking break by Watkins. The centre took Burrow’s pass 40 metres out and rampaged up field before dummying to Jones-Bishop and popping a perfectly timed pass to Burrow for the hooker to scamper over and score. Sinfield added the conversion on the hooter to give his side a 12-10 lead at the break.

The lead lasted less than three minutes into the second half when Frankie Mariano burst clear down the South Stand side and then passed back in field for Mathers to score against his former club. Sykes added the simple conversion to make it 16-12.

However that was as close as it got for the visitors as Leeds put their foot down in the second half. They had to work hard to break down the Wildcats, who produced some great defence but Ben Jones-Bishop completed his hat trick with a sensational 95 metre try from Zak Hardaker along with efforts from Rob Burrow and Danny McGuire, the latter to become the leading try scorer of all time in the Super League era.

A faultless night with the boot from Kevin Sinfield that saw the skipper finish with a 100% record with the boot made the final score 42-20.

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