In the last Super League game scheduled to be played behind closed doors due to the COVID pandemic, the Leeds Rhinos were hosts to Wakefield Trinity with both clubs desperate for a win to signal a change of fortune after torrid starts to their 2021 campaigns.
The last time that Wakefield won a Super League game was way back on the 29th October 2020, six and a half months ago, but the opposition on that occasion was the Leeds Rhinos as Trinity inflicted a massive 30-6 defeat in a game played at the Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens, although Leeds win narrowly a few days later.
Leeds won the previous meeting in 2021 by 28-22 although this was the only win of the opening five rounds for the Rhinos. Wakefield were the underdogs with the bookies and were receiving an eight-point start on the handicap coupon.
There were early errors from both sides in a nervous opening ten minutes. After relentless pressure the Rhinos should have opened their account, but solid Wakefield defence kept them out.
Against the run of play it was Wakefield who scored first as Liam Kay found space wide left as the Leeds defence were drawn into centre field. Mason Lino pulled his conversion left of the uprights, but it was a big boost for Trinity to have withstood the Rhinos onslaught and to have come out of it with the lead.
On twenty-two Wakefield got their second when Mason Lino kicked through, picked up and scored after Ash Handley parried a kick through rather than gathering it in. Lino failed to find the target again, Trinity 8-0 ahead.
There was some terrific Trinity defence to keep the Rhinos at bay until the thirty-third minute when Rhyse Martin crashed the line and managed to force the ball onto the ground. The Rhinos second rower managed to convert his own try and the home side were back within two.
An illegal ball strip two from the Leeds line gifted Lino a penalty goal to double the lead to 10-6 at the interval.
Once again, the Rhinos dominated the early exchanges in the second half, and it was Konrad Hurrell who got the Rhinos level on fifty-four as he finally found space wide after taking a Liam Sutcliffe pass to slide over in the corner. Martin added the conversion and Leeds were in front for the first time in the game.
What looked like a sensational Luke Briscoe finish on the hour, leaping through the air off a Hurrell pass, was ruled out after the slow-motion replay showed that he spilled the ball in the act of grounding.
A dangerous tackle from Luke Briscoe on seventy-four gave Lino a shot at goal and he made no mistake to level the scores at 12-12.
Luke Gale kicked a seventy-sixth minute drop goal after an awful mistake from Wakefield in front of their own sticks for a one-point lead, but on seventy-nine Lino returned the one-pointer, this after a Leeds high tackle, to level the scores once again.
A last second Gale attempted drop goal was charged down and the game went into golden point.
The game was over when Jay Pitts stole the ball from King Viniyayawa with two minutes on the golden point clock, and Martin kicked the penalty from twelve out from the sticks, to seal the Rhinos second win of the season.
This can only be described as a poor game between two awful sides who are struggling for any kind of form in 2021. Defences were on top as both sides lacked the attacking prowess to get over the whitewash. An error eventually cost Wakefield the game, and the points, and the Rhinos will count themselves as very lucky to have scraped the points.
Leeds Rhinos: Broadbent, Briscoe L, Hurrell (T), Briscoe T, Handley, Gale (DG), Sutcliffe L, Oledzki, Dwyer, Prior, Mellor, Martin (T, 3G), O’Connor. Subs: Leeming, Vuniyayawa, Walters, Gannon.
Wakefield Trinity: Ashall-Bolt, Kershaw, Lyne, Arundel, Kay (T), Jowitt, Lino (T, 2G, DG), Arona, Crowther, Tanginoa, Pitts, Ashurst, Westerman. Subs: Battye, Green, Eaves, Fifita.
Full-Time: 13-13. (15-13 after Golden Point)
Referee: Rob Hicks.
Score Progression: 0-4, 0-8, 4-8, 6-8, 6-10 : HT : 10-10, 12-10, 12-12, 13-12, 13-13 : FT : 15-13 : Golden Point.