Stats Pack: Wakefield Trinity
RFL. SL. Rhinos v Trinity. Thurs 29th Oct. © MATTHEW MERRICK PHOTOGRAPHY
Tomorrow Leeds Rhinos kick off their first match of the new Betfred Super League season against Wakefield Trinity at Emerald Headingley, kick off 3pm.
Before the teams run out, here are some of the key stats, figures and facts about both Richard Agar and Chris Chester’s sides.
Team Head to Head
Throughout the Super League era, Leeds have enjoyed a number of victories against Wakefield and have won 40 Super League games against Trinity, while Wakefield have only won 11 matches. At the Mobile Rocket Stadium, Leeds held a ten year unbeaten run against Trinity, winning 13 matches from the date Wakefield entered Super League in 1999 to the 2009. One of the most memorable results for Leeds fans during that time was in 2005, when Ali Lauitiiti scored five tries to help Tony Smith’s side to a 70-6 result. Lauitiiti went on to score 11 Super League tries against Wakefield (the 7th most in Leeds’ Super League history) before joining Trinity in 2012.
More recently Wakefield have won seven Super League games. In 2014, a late Richard Owen try inched Trinity to a 16-14 result and then two years later, an 80th minute winning try from Craig Hall gave Chris Chester’s side the victory. Last season, Wakefield beat the Challenge Cup winners 30-6 to continue a three match unbeaten run as the league reached its climax.
The teams have met twice before on the opening day of the season – Wakefield won the first meeting in 2000 at Headingley and the Rhinos won 18-4 in 2009. This will be the first time in Super League that Wakefield have been the home team against Leeds on the opening day of the season, although the game will be played at Emerald Headingley as part of the opening round of fixtures.
Key Player Matchup
One key matchup that could happen on Saturday is between two debutants. Mason Lino and Kyle Eastmond could make their first club appearances against each other and it is a matchup that both sets of fans will be looking forward to seeing.
Eastmond already has experience of Super League, having previously playing for St Helens before switching codes, and could provide an eye-catching combination with Luke Gale and Richie Myler. A Grand Finalist with the Saints in 2009 and an England international in both Rugby League and Rugby Union, he’s an exciting prospect for Rhinos fans.
Lino on the other hand is new to the Super League competition, having played five seasons in the NRL for New Zealand Warriors and Newcastle Knights. A Samoan international, he will lead Trinity around the field with captain and half back partner Jacob Miller and possess a kicking game that should replace former Trinity player Danny Brough, who departed for Bradford in the off season.
Wakefield’s Top Performer
Wakefield forward Kelepi Tanginoa was impressive throughout the 2020 season and comes into this campaign as one of the Trinity players to watch out for. After joining from NRL side Manly Sea Eagles midway through the 2019 season, the second rower was the leader of the forward pack in his first full season with the club, finishing among the top 20 Super League players for tackle busts, tackles and carries.
Leeds’ Top Performer
The big news for the Rhinos coming into this fixture is that Luke Gale will be available. Returning to the club last season, Gale was pivotal in helping Leeds secure their 14th Challenge Cup, lifting it as club captain. He retains that honour this season and despite picking up a pectoral injury in pre season, he has been named in Richard Agar’s 21 man team.
Richie Myler is only four points away from reaching 500 Super League points. Having scored 44 points for his first club Salford, Myler scored most of his points during five year at Warrington Wolves (279). He has also registered 88 points for Catalans and currently has at 85 for the Rhinos.
Wakefield’s Joe Arundel can also hit a major Super League milestone, should he be in Chester’s match day squad. The half back is only one appearance from reaching 150 in Super League, with 82 of those coming during his five years at Belle Vue.
The experienced forward Joe Westerman is only two tries away from reaching 100 tries in his career. The England international has scored most of his tries while at Castleford (43) and over two spells at Hull FC (39).