Opposition Profile: Wakefield Trinity

Picture by Isabel Pearce/SWpix.com - 22/10/2020 - Rugby League - Betfred Super League - Huddersfield Giants v Wakefield Trinity - The Totally Wicked Stadium, Langtree Park, St Helens, England - Tom Johnstone of Wakefield celebrates his try.

The Rhinos take on Wakefield Trinity in the first of their back to back fixtures against their local rivals this Thursday night, starting at the Totally Wicked Stadium in front of the Sky Sports cameras, kick off 5:30pm.

As Leeds coach Richard Agar prepares to face his former club, let’s take a closer look at our opponents here:


Overview

Coming into Thursday’s fixture off the back of consecutive League wins, Wakefield Trinity are making a strong finish to the 2020 season.

Chris Chester’s side came into August having won two matches – against Warrington and Salford – before the season was locked down. When the season resumed, Trinity lost nine matches in all competitions, including an agonising 26-23 defeat to Hull FC and 20-16 loss to the Champions St Helens.

Tom Johnstone’s two tries helped Trinity to a 18-14 win over Huddersfield Giants and Wakefield to their first win since the season resumed in August

Last week saw a turn in fortune for Wakefield with Chester’s team showing more of what has made them have success in previous years. Tom Johnstone, who is getting back into his try scoring form, recorded two important tries against Huddersfield to give Trinity their first win since the restart and last Sunday, back on home turf, Wakefield blew Hull KR away to come off the bottom of the table; Ben Jones-Bishop surpassing 150 career tries with his hat trick in the 48-18 result.

Only matches against Coral Challenge Cup finalists Leeds and Salford Red Devils remain so Trinity will be hoping to cause a few upsets before their campaign ends in November.


Last Time Out in Super League

Wakefield made it back to back wins in the League on their return to the the Mobile Rocket Stadium, defeating Hull KR 48-18 in a thrilling matchup.

Tom Johnstone had stolen the headlines on Thursday night against Huddersfield but fellow winger Ben Jones-Bishop was the Man of the Match on Sunday afternoon, scoring a hat trick and finishing off a length of the field effort that Johnstone started. Tony Gigot, Adam Tangata, Eddie Battye and Reece Lyne, who recorded a brace, also crossed the try line while Ryan Hampshire recorded 16 points (one try and six conversions).


Key Players

TOM JOHNSTONE

Position: Wing

2020 SL Tries: 9 (9th in the League)

Won Super League’s Young Player of the Year in 2016

Scored a hat trick on his England international debut vs France

Bio: One of Super League’s freakish finishers, winger Johnstone continues to defy expectation (and sometimes gravity) when he’s on the field. He was Man of the Match against Huddersfield a week ago and his two tries looks to be helping him to be Trinity’s top scorer once again this year.

RYAN HAMPSHIRE

Position: Half Back

Age: 25

Former Clubs: Wigan Warriors, Leigh Centurions, Castleford Tigers (loan) and Workington Town (loan)

2020 SL Goals: 25 (9th in the League)

Bio: He may have moved around a couple of clubs but Wigan Academy product Hampshire has settled at Wakefield and is thriving under Chester. Whether he plays full back or half back, he partners Jacob Miller well in the spine of Trinity’s attack and could be the club’s answer to filling Danny Brough’s boots for 2021.


Previous Meetings

History has shown that matches between Leeds and Wakefield at Emerald Headingley have tended to favour the home side. As Thursday’s fixture is classed as a Leeds ‘home’ game, the Rhinos can get their 19th Super League win over Trinity as the home side and 136th overall win over their Yorkshire rivals in history.

Tries from Francis Cummins, Brad Godden and Ryan Sheridan helped Leeds to their first ever Super League win over Wakefield in 1999 before four years later in 2003, a drop goal was require to split the two sides. Danny McGuire and Waisale Sovatabua scored the only tries of the game and four goals each for Kevin Sinfield and Jamie Rooney held the game in the balance at a 12 all stalemate but it would be Leeds hooker Andrew Dunemann that decided the contest before the final whistle, dropping the one pointer to give Leeds the win.

As part of Leeds’ unbeaten streak at home against Wakefield between 2007 and 2015, the Rhinos recorded their biggest victory in 2011 thanks to a hat trick from Ryan Hall. Current Trinity winger Ben Jones-Bishop was also on the scoresheet for Leeds on that day, scoring his 11th try of the season while Ali Lauitiiti, who joined Wakefield at the end of that season, also touched down to help the Rhinos to a 64-20 result.

Former Leeds and Wakefield player Ali Lauitiiti was one of eight try scorers when Leeds beat Trinity 64-20 at Emerald Headingley in 2011.

In 2015, Rob Burrow continued his relentless try scoring record against Wakefield with two tries at Emerald Headingley. The Rhinos had only lost once in the League coming into the match and Trinity didn’t stand a chance against Brian McDermott’s red hot side; Burrow and Kallum Watkins scoring two tries a piece along with further tries from Ryan Hall, Zak Hardaker, Andy Yates and Ash Handley. Burrow went on to score against Trinity every time the two sides met that season and holds the record for the most tries scored against Wakefield (24 in all competitions and 21 in Super League)

Previous Meetings at Emerald Headingley

Leeds Rhinos 18 Wakefield Trinity 35 (SLR4, 01/03/19)

Leeds Rhinos 20 Wakefield Trinity 20 (SLR21, 13/07/18)

Leeds Rhinos 38 Wakefield Trinity 14 (SLR5, 17/03/17)

Leeds Rhinos 16 Wakefield Trinity 20 (SLR8, 28/03/16)

Leeds Rhinos 48 Wakefield Trinity 22 (SLR9, 06/04/15)

Leeds Rhinos 42 Wakefield Trinity 6 (SLR8, 11/04/14)

Leeds Rhinos 20 Wakefield Trinity 18 (SLR22, 19/07/13)

Leeds Rhinos 42 Wakefield Trinity 20 (Play Offs, 15/09/12)

Leeds Rhinos 44 Wakefield Trinity 40 (SLR3, 18/06/12)

Leeds Rhinos 38 Wakefield Trinity 18 (CCR4, 13/04/12)


Head to Head


Record against the Rhinos

Thursday’s clash between Leeds and Wakefield will be the 231st time that the two clubs have met in the League in history. During that time, Leeds have accumulated 135 wins (76 of which have come at Emerald Headingley) while Wakefield have only walked away with victory against their Yorkshire rivals on 85 occasions.

Specifically in the Super League era, including the Play offs, the Rhinos have won 40 out of 51 matches against Trinity, which includes a ten match winning streak on home turf between 2007 and 2015. During that time, Leeds recorded their biggest ever win over Wakefield in the penultimate match of the 2011 regular season, defeated the visitors in the Play Offs in 2012 and continued their unbeaten start at Emerald Headingley in 2015.

The Rhinos defeated Richard Agar’s Wakefield in the 2012 Super League Play Offs; Ben Jones-Bishop scoring a hat trick for the home side.

Trinity have only won 31 times when they’ve been the away side in this fixture. Only five of those wins have come since 1999 when Wakefield entered Super League – the latest being their 35-18 win over the Rhinos in 2019. There has also been one draw; a 20 all stalemate in 2018 after Wakefield fought back from 20-12 in the last ten minutes, thanks to a Kyle Wood try and Ryan Hampshire penalty goal.


Team News


Last Game Against the Rhinos

Wakefield were the first side to play Leeds at Emerald Headingley in 2019 and Chris Chester’s side took away a 35-18 result, thanks to a hat trick from Tom Johnstone in the first half. Leeds wingers Tom Briscoe and Ash Handley got two tries apiece for the home side; Handley later going on to finish the campaign as the Rhinos’ top try scorer.