Warm Up Matches

Tue 26th Dec 2023  KO: 11:00  RD: No Round
Attend: 9565   

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Leeds Rhinos

41 22

HT: 6-22

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Wakefield Trinity

Tries

Roberts
J.Smith
C.Smith
Olpherts x2
Goudemand
Nicholson-Watton

Franco
Ashurst
Jowitt
Walmsley

Goals

Sinfield x6

Jowitt x2
Walmsley

D. Goals

Sinfield

  • Full Back

    1

    Derrell
    Olpherts

  • Right Wing

    2

    Jack
    Smith

  • Right Centre

    3

    Luis
    Roberts

  • Left Centre

    4

    Ash
    Handley

  • Left Wing

    5

    Matt
    Frawley

  • Stand Off

    6

    Jack
    Sinfield

  • Scrum Half

    7

    Mickael
    Goudemand

  • Prop

    8

    Andy
    Ackers

  • Hooker

    9

    Justin
    Sangare

  • Prop

    10

    James
    McDonnell

  • Second Row

    11

    Morgan
    Gannon

  • Second Row

    12

    Cameron
    Smith

  • Loose Forward

    13

    Jarrod
    O'Connor

  • Int 1

    14

    Alfie
    Edgell

  • Int 2

    15

    Corey
    Johnson

  • Int 3

    16

    Sam
    Lisone

  • Int 4

    17

    Fergus
    MCCORMACK

  • Max
    Jowitt

  • Romain
    Franco

  • Ian
    Thornley

  • Oliver
    Pratt

  • Lachlan
    Walmsley

  • Liam
    Hood

  • Myles
    Lawford

  • Josh
    Bowden

  • Thomas
    Doyle

  • Renouf
    Atoni

  • Matty
    Ashurst

  • Josh
    Griffin

  • Mathieu
    Cozza

  • Harvey
    Smith

  • Jack
    Croft

  • Cain
    STAVELEY-CARR

  • Dominic
    SINFIELD

Leeds Rhinos gave their fans a late present at Headingley as they won the Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge 41-22 against Wakefield Trinity in the annual Boxing Day clash.


Six second-half tries saw Leeds turn around a 22-6 deficit at the break as Derrell Olpherts crossed twice, along with further tries for captain Cam Smith, new face Mickael Goudemand and young talents Jack Smith and Tom Nicholson-Watton.


In the final outing of 2023, Rohan Smith gave the Headingley crowd a preview of what was to come from the Rhinos in 2024 by naming new signings Lachlan Miller, Matt Frawley, Andy Ackers and Mickael Goudemand as starters in the matchday squad. A game known for giving opportunities for younger talent too, Academy players Jack Smith started at centre and Jack Sinfield partnered Frawley in the halves. A youthful bench included Alfie Edgell and Tom Nicholson-Watton, who debuted against Castleford in the final game of 2023, as well as brothers Fergus and Ned McCormack and Ben Littlewood too.


Poor handling proved the undoing of the Rhinos in the early stages of the game as Miller and Frawley’s link-up play resulted in Luis Roberts dropping the ball for Iain Thornley to turnover. Using the field position to their advantage, a strong drive from Renouf Atoni gave Myles Lawford time to stab a low kick for the corner and Romain Franco followed up to score.


The home side looked to retaliate as Morgan Gannon took the short restart well, but as the Rhinos got closer to the try line, a nice-looking pass from Miller for Olpherts saw the winger kick the ball out of play.


Sensing the pressure, Wakefield countered with two more tries off the back of Leeds' mistakes. The first saw Matty Ashurst cross thanks to a flat pass from Mathieu Cozza, after a short drop out from Miller was collected by Trinity, and then another short kickoff punished the Rhinos as Jowitt pinched the ball away from Sangare to sprint 50 metres and score in the corner. Converting the two tries, Jowitt made the score 16-0 after 15 minutes.


The game became scrappy midway through the half as Wakefield continued to pressure the Leeds defence and attacks from the home side were quickly quelled. The Rhinos finally made a breakthrough though with Roberts in the latter stages of the half. Given a chance close to the line as Griffin tackled Ackers high, the Rhinos produced some nice off-the-cuff play to keep the ball moving across the line and as Miller cut back inside, the fullback stabbed a kick into an empty backfield for the chasing Roberts to touch down. Jack Sinfield converted to close the score to 16-4.


As the clock ran down, a break by substitute Tom Nicholson-Watton set the Rhinos up for another promising attack but as Miller tried to put Olpherts over in the corner, the full back’s pass was intercepted by Lachlan Walmsley. Racing away from the Rhinos defenders, the winger made it to the opposite end of the field and made the score 22-6 to the away side at the break.


 


Coming out for the second half, the Rhinos were quick to take action as Liam Hood’s pass across the line was picked off by youngster Jack Smith, who wasn’t going to be stopped from reaching the try line. The deficit was reduced again three minutes later as Ackers came to life with a dart through the Wakefield defence and captain Cam Smith was there in support to score under the posts. No sooner had Sinfield kicked the conversion, it was try time again as Ackers and Frawley architected a break for Olpherts to finish to bring the score level at 22-22.


Running hot on a chilly afternoon at Headingley, the Rhinos were forced into defending their line briefly but found themselves celebrating behind the posts again. Working upfield from an offside penalty, Miller timed his pass to perfection to find Olpherts again, and the winger did well to hold his line and leap in at the corner to give the Rhinos their first lead of the game.


Releasing Academy talents Ned and Fergus McCormack, Alfie Edgell and Ben Littlewood from the bench, Smith’s side didn’t look to miss a beat, especially when a break by Jack Croft was cut short by good defensive work from Riley Lumb and Edgell.  In attack, Roberts’ break looked to bring certain points, even though the winger’s mistimed pass was followed up by Sinfield, but Trinity survived as the clock continued to tick.


Knowing they had Wakefield where they wanted them on their own line, Sinfield opted to turn the pressure on Trinity more with a drop goal, but the contest was truly over when Goudemand crashed over from short range on his first Headingley appearance to make the score 35-22 with five minutes to go.


Free-flowing in attack until the very end, the young Rhinos capped off a sensational second half performance as Nicholson-Watton played the supporting role for Sinfield’s half break as the Rhinos reclaimed the Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge trophy with a 41-22 final score.


Teams


Rhinos: 1. Lachlan Miller, 19. Derrell Olpherts, 3. Jack Smith, 24. Luis Roberts, 5. Ash Handley, 21. Jack Sinfield, 7. Matt Frawley, 17. Justin Sangare, 9. Andy Ackers, 18. Mickael Goudemand, 16. James McDonnell, 20. Morgan Gannon, 13. Cameron Smith ©


Subs: 15. Sam Lisone, 30. Tom Nicholson-Watton, 14. Jarrod O’Connor, 26. Corey Johnson, 4. Ned McCormack, 6. Fergus McCormack, 2. Riley Lumb, 11. Ben Littlewood


Tries: Roberts (35), J.Smith (43), C.Smith (46), Olpherts (48, 56), Goudemand (72), Tom Nicholson-Watton (79)


Goals: Sinfield 6/7


Drop goal: Sinfield 1/1 (70)


 


Trinity:


1. Max Jowitt, 23. Romain Franco, 4. Iain Thornley, 3. Oliver Pratt, 5. Lachlan Walmsley, 9. Liam Hood, 24. Myles Lawford, 10. Renouf Atoni, 21. Thomas Doyle, 8. Josh Bowden, 11. Matty Ashurst, 12. Josh Griffin, 16. Mathieu Cozza


Subs: 15. Caleb Uele, 20. Toby Boothroyd, 22. Jack Croft, 26. Harvey Smith, 27. Joe Law, 28. Thomas Delaney, 18. Dom Sinfield, 29. Cain Staveley-Carr


Tries: Franco (5), Ashurst (12), Jowitt (14), Walmsley (39)


Goals: Jowitt 2/3, Walmsley 1/1


 


Wetherby Whaler Player of the Match: Andy Ackers (Leeds), Max Jowitt (Wakefield)


Half time: Rhinos 6 Trinity 22


Referee: Tom Grant.


Attendance: 9,565

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