Flashback: Five Top Super League Play Off Clashes
Leeds Rhinos v Catalans play off Headingley Ryan Hall passes under pressure
For the first time in three years, Leeds are back in the Betfred Super League Play Offs to take on Catalans Dragons, kick off 7:45pm. As we prepare to see the Rhinos back in action, relive some of our favourite play off clashes over years gone by.
1998 – Leeds Rhinos 13 Halifax Blue Sox 6
After suffering a 42-0 humiliation against Halifax at the end of the regular Super League season, Leeds faced off against the Blue Sox at Headingley at the start of the 1998 Play Offs. In a low scoring affair, Graham Murray’s Rhinos side came alive in the second half to overturn a 6-0 deficit. Anthony Farrell got Leeds back on level terms before Marcus St Hilaire danced through the Halifax defence to race 40 metres and score. Iestyn Harris’ drop goal assured a Leeds win as they went through to face Wigan in the qualifying semi finals.
2004 – Leeds Rhinos 40 Wigan Warriors 12
In 2004 Tony Smith’s side took on Wigan Warriors at Headingley in one last bid to reach the Grand Final. Having lost to Bradford the week before, the League Leaders were fueled by their derby defeat and beat the Warriors 40-12 in front of a home crowd. Top scorers Marcus Bai and Danny McGuire were both on the scoreboard – Bai scoring a hat trick – and there was further tries from homegrown talents Richie Mathers, Chev Walker and Ryan Bailey as the Rhinos set up a rematch with the Bulls for the trophy.
2009 – Leeds Rhinos 27 Catalans Dragons 20
The Rhinos and Catalans first met in the elimination Play Offs in 2009, when Leeds who had secured the League Leaders Shield looked to make history by reaching their third Grand Final in three consecutive years. Following a 44-8 demolition of Hull KR in the previous round, the home side looked to have sealed their Grand Final place inside of 40 minutes; Danny McGuire and Ryan Hall scoring two tries apiece to help Leeds to a 22-4 lead. The second half saw the Dragons unexpectedly fight back, thanks to a Vincent Duport completing his hat trick, but Kevin Sinfield’s drop goal on 62 minutes helped ease Brian McClennan’s side to victory.
2010 – Wigan Warriors 26 Leeds Rhinos 27
One of Leeds’ greatest Play Off matches came at the DW Stadium in 2010 against Wigan. The Warriors were quick out of the blocks, taking a 14-0 lead but the four time Champions wouldn’t go away; tries from Danny Buderus and Ryan Hall and an extra penalty goal from Sinfield locking the scores up at the break.
Brent Webb helped Danny McGuire give the visitors the lead on 46 minutes but Scott Donald’s try after the hour mark proved fatal for the home side; Sinfield following it up with a drop goal.
A last minute penalty was awarded against McGuire and gave Wigan the chance to win the game but Pat Richards’ touchline attempt was short, giving Leeds a 27-26 win.
2012 – Catalans Dragons 20 Leeds Rhinos 27
The last time Catalans were the home team against the Rhinos in the Play Offs was 2012, when the defending champions Leeds were hoping to get to Old Trafford from fifth place in the table. Only a missed conversion from Thomas Bosc separated the two sides in the first half as the Rhinos took a 12-10 lead into the break, thanks to tries from Stevie Ward and Shaun Lunt.
Despite two tries from Catalans winger Damian Blanch either side of half time, the Rhinos’ Play Off experience ensured Brian McDermott’s side set up a semi final meeting with Wigan; Carl Ablett and Danny McGuire adding further tries while McGuire’s drop goal sealed a 27-20 result.