On this Day – 11th June
Ali Lauitiiti reaches out to score his first try at Headingley Pic by Gordon Clayton copyright of Varley Picture Agency
ON THIS DAY in 1999 the Rhinos were on the road to take on Wigan. That year the teams had already played each other twice. The first time was in the fourth round of the Challenge Cup when the Rhinos began their successful campaign with a 28-18 win at Headingley.
In the next league match though Wigan were able to take their revenge and emerged as the 26-12 winners.
In this fixture Leeds were able to gain a rare victory at Central Park. Jamie Mathiou and Paul Sterling were the only try scorers for the Rhinos but it was enough, with the home side only being able to manage 4 points in the game. Iestyn Harris successfully converted both tries and also added a drop goal to give Leeds a 13-4 win.
ON THIS DAY in 2004 Leeds were at home to Widnes and the 13,419 crowd witnessed Danny McGuire score a record-equalling five tries to guide the Super League leaders Leeds to a crushing win over Widnes.
McGuire’s efforts matched the Super League record for the number of tries in one game but he was not the only on-song Rhinos player. Mark Calderwood also helped himself to two tries and Ali Lauitiiti claimed his first Headingley try for the club to earn a rousing ovation.
Widnes had started brightly with a try after just 85 seconds through Simon Finnigan but they could not contain the Rhinos once they got into their stride. Myler added the extras but the Leeds response was swift as Rob Burrow broke from halfway and sent Calderwood clear with a well-timed pass. Dave Furner missed the conversion and Myler inched the Vikings further ahead with a penalty but Leeds were soon back level as Calderwood benefited from some sublime handling by Lauitiiti, who made his first Rhinos start in the game, to score his second.
Yet Widnes were not intimidated and got themselves back in front when Troy Wozniak’s pass somehow found its way through Aaron Moule for Nicky Royle to cross out wide. But Leeds took control with three tries in the final eight minutes of the first half to take a 26-12 lead into the interval. McGuire scored the first two of them, both superb individual efforts and Furner converted both and then added another goal with the last kick of the half after Lauitiiti forced his way over from close range. Widnes appeared to have got themselves back into the game with a try early in the second half when Chris Giles caught Myler’s bomb and forced his way past Richie Mathers. Myler’s conversion brought them back within eight points but their revival did not last long and soon Burrow darted through a gap to score his side’s sixth of the night and then McGuire completed his hat-trick with another dazzling run.
Leeds were approaching top gear but Widnes refused to throw in the towel and Giles claimed a second try after a break down the left. But it was McGuire’s night and his fourth duly arrived after Senior found a gap on the left and passed inside for him to score by the posts. His fifth was an even simpler touchdown after a run to the line by substitute Jamie Jones-Buchanan. Burrow this time converted to wrap up another Rhinos victory.
ON THIS DAY in 2015, Leeds welcomed Castleford Tigers to Headingley. The Rhinos fought back from 18-0 down early on but ultimately missed out against Castleford as a late try from Denny Solomona sealed the win for the visitors.