On this Day – 14th June
ON THIS DAY in 1996 Leeds played Warrington for the second time that season. The teams had first met on the opening day of Super League and on that occasion Warrington just edged the game with a 22-18 victory. Leeds then went onto lose their next three fixtures before claiming their first win against Sheffield Eagles.
They had then picked up just two more wins over the season and were coming into this game on the back of three defeats to Halifax, Bradford and Wigan and one against bottom of the table side Workington Town.
Without key players Francis Cummins, Jim Fallon and Ken Iro, Leeds fell to a 12-36 defeat. Leeds were lucky to survive their slow start as Neil Harmon put the game’s first try on the board. Phil Hassan scored his third try of the season to put Leeds further ahead, but the sin binning of Adrian Morley opened Leeds up in the middle of the field, allowing Warrington to run away with it. A double from Jon Roper was extended by scores from Paul Cullen, Salesi Finau, Mark Hilton and Ian Knott followed as the Wire ran out to 36-12 winners on home soil.
ON THIS DAY in 1998 the Rhinos took on Hull Sharks and ended their undefeated run in Super League that season. Leeds had not lost in their opening nine games, only dropping points in a draw against Castleford. In the fixture proceeding this one the Rhinos had recorded their biggest win of the season with a 54-4 win over Huddersfield Giants.
Heavy rain changed the conditions of play and the home side capitalise with the wet ball. Despite Leeds going ahead through a Iestyn Harris penalty, Hull gained a score back when Graeme Hallas intercepted a Harris pass to score. A drop goal by Craig Murdock was followed up by a bizarre score for Leeds. As Graham Holroyd grubbered the ball through, substitute Steve Craven kicked the ball back to winger Paul Sterling, who grounded the ball in goal.
The Rhinos’ lead didn’t last long though as Brad Hepi gave the Sharks a 9-6 lead going into half time. Barrie McDermott’s early try looked to reignite the Rhinos but as Adrian Morley limped from the field, Hull hit back. First Fili Seru took a pass from Murdock to score in the corner before Hallas’ drop goal sealed the win for the Sharks.
ON THIS DAY in 2008, Leeds travelled to the capital to face Harlequins at the Stoop. The reigning Champions had won at the same venue a month earlier in the Challenge Cup but suffered a shock defeat to Brian McDermott’s side, 28-24, despite a late fightback with tries from Rob Burrow and Scott Donald. Leeds outscored the home side five tries to four but they could not overcome a determined Quins outfit.
The Rhinos were edged 28-24 by Harlequins inflicting only the third defeat of the season on the Rhinos.
Jamie Peacock opened the scoring for the Rhinos inside of four minutes, taking a short ball to power over. Winger Will Sharp hit back for the home side to level the scores before half back Scott Hill snuck through to put Harlequins 12-6 ahead. After Henry Paul had slotted a penalty goal, Leeds got their try through Scott Donald, who claimed his 20th of the season. Sinfield made the score 14-12 with a conversion at half time.
Harlequins’ Chad Randall restored the home sides’ lead after the break, making the score 20-12 with only eight minutes played in the half. Keith Senior crashed over to bring the score to within four before he and Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook were sin binned for fighting. With ten minutes remaining, Harlequins took advantage of the space out wide to send Sharp in for his second of the match. Late scores from Rob Burrow and a second from Scott Donald weren’t enough as London claimed victory over the league leaders.
ON THIS DAY in 2009, Leeds were in action at Headingley as they took on Huddersfield Giants. Both teams were forced to reshuffle their sides with England players unavailable having played against France in Paris the night before and Huddersfield led 12-0 in the second half before a fight back from the home side. In the closing stages, the Giants looked certain to score the winning try only for Kallum Watkins to go the length of the field to win the game.
ON THIS DAY in 2019, the Rhinos were up against Wigan Warriors at Emerald Headingley with both teams battling at the wrong end of the table after poor starts to the season.
Leeds twice held the lead before Oliver Partington came up with the all-important score on the hour and Wigan produced some superb defence to keep their lead intact in a tense final quarter, completing the double over the Rhinos.
Wigan’s final margin of victory was inflated by a freak try in the final seconds from prop Tony Clubb, who picked up a loose ball as Leeds chased victory on the hooter. Despite replays clearly showing he had dropped the ball as he went to ground it, with the hooter gone, the referee opted to award the try rather than refer it to the video referee.