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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 32 Leeds Rhinos 36

28th June 2002

By Leeds Rhinos

Karl Pratt’s 90-yard try on 77 minutes earned Leeds Rhinos a 36-32 win over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in a Belle Vue thriller on Friday night.

The Wildcats had led for most of the match after Gareth Ellis' two tries had given them a 10-0 lead, but late tries to Rob Burrow and Pratt – with his second of the game – sealed the win.

WP – Home MPU

The Wildcats had opened the scoring on nine minutes, when Brad Davis' pass sent highly-rated young cetre Ellis over, Ian Knott converting, and three minutes later the two combined again, with Ellis this time charging 30 yards to the line.

Leeds hit back on 16 minutes, when Chev Walker took Ryan Sheridan's cross-field bomb and pushed off Kris Tassell before diving over.

But slack defence around the marker area on their own line saw the Rhinos move further behind when Knott forced his way over from dummy half and converted his own score, although an ankle injury forced him off soon afterwards.

Leeds responded in controversial fashion, with referee Karl Kirkpatrick awarding a penalty try to Pratt – who started the game at hooker – after he had attempted to force his way through three men from dummy half only to see the ball ripped out.

Kevin Sinfield converted from in front of the posts, and Leeds were back to within six points going into the break, although had Ellis not slipped when given a clear run to the line, the Wildcats could have further extended their advantage.

Sheridan's 40-20 put Leeds immediately on the front foot after the restart, and the scrum half then darted his way over the line out wide, with Sinfield levelling the scores with the conversion.  But, rather than the fancied visitors running away with the game, Wakefield came back strongly to keep their noses in front.

Firstly, Tommy Haughey sent in Tassell at the corner after Martin Moana had been hauled down short by Francis Cummins.  Then David March and Ellis combined for Neil Law to touch down, giving the Wildcats a 26-16 lead.

Former Wakefield captain Willie Poching pulled Leeds back into the game on 58 minutes when he charged over from a Sinfield offload, the goal putting them within four points.

They hit the front for the first time three minutes later, when Mark Calderwood was freed down the right and Walker supported to cross under the posts.  Once again, the Wildcats came back, when Moana kicked through and, after Poching's error, hacked on to touch down, Davis' conversion giving them a 32-28 lead going into the final 16 minutes.

Leeds went into the game without Ben Walker and Matt Diskin, while Matt Adamson was started on the bench, but the second rower's offload enabled quicksilver half back Rob Burrow to scorch 50 yards to the line.  The youngster had earlier been stopped by Wildcats flier Andrew Frew, but showed a clean pair of heels this time to reach the line and level the scores at 32-all.

The home side then allowed nerves to affect them, moving the ball left instead of setting up for a drop goal.  That proved decisive when, after a knock on, Leeds moved the ball left from a scrum, and Keith Senior and Cummins combined to free Pratt inside his own 10 metres.

The versatile youngster showed his talents with a fine dash, excellently drawing the cover defence before finishing on the outside to snatch the win for the Rhinos.

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