Opposition Profile – Wakefield Trinity
Wakefield v Leeds Rhinos.Wakefield player Mason Caton-Brown is held up22nd April 2019.Picture by Simon Hulme
This Friday sees the Rhinos travel to Mobile Rocket Stadium to face local rivals Wakefield Trinity for a third time in the Betfred Super League in 2019. Wakefield have won both league games against the Rhinos in 2019 and will be hoping to make it a third in front of the Sky Sports cameras however Richard Agar’s side will be looking to make it third time lucky instead.
Under coach Chris Chester, who took over from Brian Smith in 2016, Wakefield have risen from being Million Pound Game survivors to Play-Off contenders over the last four years. Back to back finishes in fifth place have made Trinity a force in the Super League and put players such as Tom Johnstone, Bill Tupou and Reece Lyne in the spotlight.
Wakefield currently sit sixth in the table, level on points with derby rivals Castleford Tigers. Inconsistent results throughout the season has seen Trinity gain wins against Wigan Warriors, Catalans Dragons and two drop goal victories against Huddersfield Giants but lose to bottom side London Broncos twice.
Trinity were also one of eight teams that played in the Challenge Cup Quarter Finals last weekend. After beating Widnes Vikings 26-6 in the sixth round, Wakefield couldn’t compete with league leaders St Helens, who ran riot at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
Excluding this season, the Rhinos have been one of the toughest sides for Wakefield to beat since their promotion from Division One in 1998. Their highest result against Leeds came at Emerald Headingley in 2005 as Trinity ran eight tries past the Champions in a shock 44-28 win.
It took Trinity until 2010 though to beat Leeds on their home turf. Sean Gleeson, Ben Jeffries, Danny Brough and Darryl Millard were all on the scoresheet that day as the side coached by John Kear beat the Rhinos 28-18. They have only been able to replicate that four times since (2012, 2014, 2017, 2019).
Outside of the Super League era, Wakefield’s highest home result came when they finished third in the 1945-46 Northern League season, scoring 71 unanswered points against Leeds.
Last ten meetings:
Wakefield Trinity 26 Leeds Rhinos 24 (Round 12, 22/04/19)
Leeds Rhinos 18 Wakefield Trinity 35 (Round 4, 01/03/19)
Leeds Rhinos 20 Wakefield Trinity 20 (Round 21, 13/07/18)
Wakefield Trinity 26 Leeds Rhinos 28 (Round 10, 08/04/18)
Wakefield Trinity 38 Leeds Rhinos 6 (Super 8s, 10/08/17)
Wakefield Trinity 16 Leeds Rhinos 18 (Round 18, 10/06/17)
Leeds Rhinos 38 Wakefield Trinity 14 (Round 5, 17/03/17)
Wakefield Trinity 6 Leeds Rhinos 32 (Round 19, 17/06/16)
Leeds Rhinos 16 Wakefield Trinity 20 (Round 8, 28/03/16)
Wakefield Trinity 26 Leeds Rhinos 58 (Round 17, 07/06/15)
Record against the Rhinos
Leeds have by far the better record against Wakefield, winning 38 games including the 2012 play offs. Nineteen of those have been at the Mobile Rocket Stadium, with the Rhinos notably going nine games unbeaten between 2001 and 2004.
Trinity only have ten wins against Leeds since they came into the Super League, their best home result coming in 2017 as the returning Jacob Miller inspired a 38-6 win in the Super 8s.
Four defeats to Leeds have been by over 50 points, including a 70-6 loss at home in 2005 which saw Ali Lauitiiti, who signed for the club in 2012, score five tries.
In the News
Winger Lee Kershaw signed a one year deal with the club earlier this week. Kershaw has made three appearances since breaking into the first team and scored his only try of the season against Leeds in Round 12.
New signing Kelepi Tanginoa made his first start for Wakefield in the Challenge Cup defeat to St Helens last Saturday. The front rower signed from Manly Sea Eagles on a two-and-a-half year deal after playing 32 NRL games.
Keegan Hirst is set to make his 300th career appearance on Friday night. The prop is in his third season with Trinty after playing most of his career at Championship sides Dewsbury Rams and Batley Bulldogs.
Tackle Busts: 110
Position: Scrum Half
Try Assists: 10
Kicks in play: 111
Yellow Cards: 2
Last Time Out
The last time Wakefield hosted the Rhinos at the Mobile Rocket Stadium, only two points proved the difference as Chris Chester’s side edged Leeds 26-24 in April. Lee Kershaw and Reece Lyne took Trinity to an early lead before a Leeds fightback, however former Rhino Ben Jones-Bishop and Max Jowitt sealed the win.
Chris Chester has named two changes to last weeks Challenge Cup squad. Danny Kirmond and Mason Caton-Brown both drop out through injury, allowing prop and top try scorer David Fifita to come back in contention following an ankle injury he suffered at the Magic Weekend.
Junior Sa’u also returns after being cup tied. The centre has played twice for Trinity since joining on a month loan from Salford Red Devils, who received forward Pauli Pauli in the swap deal. He will play alongside Jones-Bishop, who has five tries this season.
Tickets and travel for Wakefield Trinity v Leeds Rhinos are now on sale. Tickets can be purchased either by coming down to the Leeds Rugby Ticket Office at the Emerald Headingley Stadium, over the phone on 0371 423 1315 or online at tickets.therhinos.co.uk.