• Wakefield Trinity
  • 18 - 20

  • Leeds Rhinos
  • Wakefield Trinity
  • HT 12 - 14
  • Leeds Rhinos
1st November 2020 | KO 14:00 | Mobile Rocket Stadium | Betfred Super League

Wakefield Trinity 18 Leeds Rhinos 20

RFL. SL. Trinity v Rhinos. Sun 1st Nov. © MATTHEW MERRICK PHOTOGRAPHY

Leeds Rhinos bounced back from defeat mid week to Wakefield Trinity by beating Chris Chester’s side 20-18 at the Mobile Rocket Stadium, thanks to tries from Liam Sutcliffe, Brad Dwyer and two from Ash Handley.

After meeting at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Thursday night, both sides made changes to their matchday squads as they approached the season’s climax. Three of Leeds’ academy players came back into Richard Agar’s side; Callum McLelland, Sam Walters and Jarrod O’Connor replacing Luke Gale, Alex Mellor and Tom Holroyd. Rhys Evans partnered Luke Briscoe on the left edge while James Donaldson, who started his first game since February, and James Harrison, who was making his 100th career appearance, were back for the Rhinos. Ben Jones-Bishop was named to face his former club by Chester after the winger surpassed 150 career tries with a hat trick the week before.

The first half was a feast for fans watching at home, with end to end action and five tries. Similar to Thursday night, Leeds started strongly by completing their sets deep in Wakefield territory but unlike four days ago, the visitors made Wakefield pay. Brad Dwyer was the creator, speeding quickly out of dummy half and sliced between Jack Croft and Jacob Miller before offloading for Liam Sutcliffe. Under pressure from looming full back Alex Walker, Sutcliffe saw Handley come back onto his inside and the centre passed for the Man of the Match to score. Sutcliffe was given the kicking duties and slotted his first of the afternoon.

Trinity hit back against the grain; Lee Kershaw scoring a length of the field effort that was a replica of his try in this fixture in 2019. Leeds looked certain to add more points shortly after Handley’s opening try as Ryan Hampshire’s kick off went out on the full, but as the ball was moved across the line, Jack Walker’s pass over the top for Luke Briscoe was plucked out of the air by Kershaw, who sprinted 90 metres to score under the posts.

Now with their tails up, the home side pushed for more points and forced Leeds to defend back to back sets. Briscoe put in a try saving effort to prevent winger Kershaw from getting a second, shortly after Walker had been forced back in goal from a Miller kick, but with the pressure mounting on the Rhinos, Joe Westerman took a short pass to break through defensive line and score from short range. Hampshire added his second conversion of the afternoon to make the score 12-6.

Jack Walker’s kick off sailed over the sideline on the full to gift Wakefield possession near Leeds’ line but another break away in Leeds’ favour caused the game to turn once again. Camped on the Rhinos line following the kick out on the full, Hampshire had the best chance to get over the whitewash for Trinity but as Wood and Miller combined to push the ball down the line shortly after, a mistimed pass out to Croft went to ground and was picked up by captain Handley, who turned on the afterburners. Despite being brought down by Jones-Bishop, Handley got back up, evaded Innes Senior and offloaded the ball for Sutcliffe, who made it across the try line.

Jones-Bishop looked to have made up for his effort in not bringing down Handley when the winger was released down the touchline thanks to quick passes but pressure from McLelland and Walker forced the winger’s pass, intended for Croft, to go to ground. Along with a string of errors and penalties late in the half, the home side would kick themselves for missing the opportunity as Leeds went into the half time break in the lead. Wakefield were penalised for being offside and holding down Mikolaj Oledzki by referee Marcus Griffiths, gifting Leeds territory and possession close to the try line and a nice spin move by Bodene Thompson opened up space for the second rower to run through. Sutcliffe was there once again to receive the offload and shift the ball wide for Handley to score his second of the afternoon and 15th of the season. Rhyse Martin’s conversion attempt was pushed back by the wind, keeping the Rhinos ahead by two points at the break.

 

The rain started to come down before the second half commenced and forced an error early from Leeds’ Thompson; the second rower fumbling a quick pass from McLelland that would have seen Thompson score. Off the back of the error, Wakefield marched up the other end of the field and after David Fifita and debutant Harry Bowes couldn’t get the ball over the line, a chip to the corner by Hampshire was claimed in the air by Senior, despite Briscoe’s best efforts. Hampshire was clinical with the conversion to give Wakefield a four point advantage.

An injury scare to Kruise Leeming was averted after the hooker, who made a great break downfield, took a hard hit in the back from Hampshire. The hooker remained out on the field to help the Rhinos come close to the try line but the visitors lacked the finishing touch as the score remained 18-14.

The reintroduction of Dwyer to the field proved pivotal on the hour mark as the hooker charged his way over for the game winning try. The opportunity looked gone after Martin bulldozed his way to the line but the ball was turned over. Coming off their own line, Wakefield then lost the ball in the tackle and Harrison reclaimed for the Rhinos, mounting pressure on the home side, and a couple of plays later, Dwyer burst out of dummy half and took three Trinity defenders over the line with him to level the scores. Martin kicked his first of the afternoon to give the Rhinos the lead once again.

Trinity tried to turn the game around in the last ten minute but two errors from Fifita proved fatal. The substitute firstly offloaded the ball wildly over his head on the half way line – Oledzki picking up the loose ball –  and after Leeds failed to capitalised on back to back sets, Trinity came within metres of the try line but Fifita knocked the ball on trying to get his arm free; a mistake that ensured Richard Agar’s side an important victory as close in on a top four spot.

Team Performance

Goals

0

2

Tries

0

4

Player Performance

PlayerTRGLDGYCRCI+I-
Jack Walker0000000
Luke Briscoe0000000
Rhys Evans0000000
Liam Sutcliffe1100000
Ash Handley2000000
Robert Lui0000000
Callum McLelland0000000
Ava Seumanufagai0000000
Brad Dwyer1000000
James Harrison0000000
Sam Walters0000000
Bodene Thompson0000000
James Donaldson0000000
Interchanges
Mikolaj Oledzki0000000
Kruise Leeming0000000
Rhyse Martin0100000
Jarrod O'Connor0000000
PlayerTRGLDGYCRCI+I-
Interchanges
Stats Key
  • TR: Tries
  • RD: Red Cards
  • GL: Goals
  • I+: Interchange On
  • DG: Drop Goals
  • I-: Interchange Off
  • YC: Yellow Cards