After suffering a 44-0 defeat in their opening fixture of the 2021 Women’s Super League, Wakefield Trinity were looking for better against a Leeds Rhinos side which has scored an average of seventy points per game in their opening two fixtures while conceding an average of just eight.
Wakefield were without seven regular first-teamers and Leeds rang a couple of changes to their, so far, successful squad. The odds were stacked against Trinity and they knew that it would take a superhuman effort with a fair sprinkling of luck for them to keep in touch with the Champions.
It was an error filled start from the Rhinos, putting the ball to ground three times in the opening exchanges, but they soon got over their nerves.
Leeds opened their account on nine minutes when Aimee Staveley took an inside pass from Hanna Butcher to fend off two tackles and crash over. Tasha Gaines added the conversion for a 6-0 lead. Within three minutes the Rhinos scored a breakaway try after Fran Goldthorpe picked up a poor Wakefield kick and despite being tackled a quick play the ball put Caitlin Beevers free to complete the try and score under the sticks. Gaines added the conversion for a 12-0 lead.
It was all too easy for the Rhinos on eighteen when the defence opened up and allowed Elle Frain to run in a thirty metre try without really needing to step on the accelerator. Gaines couldn’t add the conversion, Leeds now 16-0 ahead.
Leeds fourth try came on twenty-six thanks to an excellent piece of individual skill from Fran Goldthorpe as she picked her way through the defensive line to score twenty right of the uprights. Gaines was unable to add the conversion. The Rhinos now dominant and it was looking like an impossible task for Trinity.
A fantastic solo run from Beevers, after wrong-footing the Trinity last line of defence, saw her make a forty-metre dash for the sticks to score under the posts. Gaines added the simple goal for a big 26-0 lead.
With just one minute on the clock Trinity got their opening try when the Leeds defence failed to deal with a high kick and from Swann was picked up and scored by Abby Price. Lisa Taylor added the conversion as the hooter sounded.
Just sixty seconds after the restart Goldthorpe got her second of the afternoon as she outpaced the Trinity defence wide right and went close to the sticks, but Gaines couldn’t add the extras.
On forty-four Beevers completed her hat-trick as she carved her way through the defence for a forty metre try, dabbing down under the uprights and giving Gaines a simple conversion for 36-6. The Rhinos were turning on the style as Wakefield tired.
Three minutes later is was Goldthorpe’s turn to carve through the defence to complete her hat-tick after stepping off both feet. Gaines added the conversion, her fifth of the game, for 42-6.
Goldthorpe turned provider on fifty-two when she offloaded under the tackle straight into the hands of the supporting Lucy Murray to finish the ninth Leeds try of the afternoon. Gaines couldn’t find the target with her kick, but the Rhinos were turning on the style.
On fifty-seven it was ten of the best as Chloe Kerrigan took a Hannah Butcher pass and found the line to stretch and score to bring up the fifty. Gaines’ kick went underneath the crossbar.
Just before the hour Goldthorpe made her fourth try of the afternoon as she again weaved her way through the Wakefield defensive line to score by the right upright. Gaines added the conversion for 56-6.
It was sixty on sixty-two when Hannah Butcher joined the party dropping both shoulders to run in as Wakefield started to pray for the final hooter. Gaines couldn’t add the conversion.
Goldthorp got her fifth of the afternoon as she palmed off one tackler and dragged the last defender over the line for the score. Gaines dropped her kick short of the posts.
Kerrigan’s second of the afternoon, the Rhinos fourteenth of the game, came after she shrugged off a tackler. Gaines couldn’t add the kick from wide.
Zoe Hornby bust the Wakefield line on halfway and turned on the speed to go over under the sticks to bring up the seventy. This time Gaines could add the extra two, the Rhinos maintaining their average for the season so far.
It was a totally dominant second half for the Rhinos as they put yet another Super League side to the sword and maintained their one hundred percent record. Wakefield will take little solace from their first try of the season as they crashed to another heavy defeat. The Rhinos looked single-minded in their quest to retain their Champion status.
Wakefield Trinity: Whitehead, Price B, Rhodes, Taylor (G), Green, Price A (T), Swann, Candler, Lindsay, Swaine, Brown, Kershaw, Shackleton. Subs: Winks, Spence-Hirst, Strafford, Jarrett.
Leeds Rhinos: Beevers (3T), Moxon, Kerrigan (2T), Goldthorp (5T), Powell, Butcher (T), Gaines (7G), Johnson, McCallion, Oldroyd, Staveley (T), Frain (T), Hornby (T). Subs: Robinson, Hulme, Murray (T), Johnson.
Referee: Ellis McCarthy.
Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, 0-10, 0-12, 0-16, 0-20, 0-24, 0-26, 4-26, 6-26 : HT : 6-30, 6-34, 6-36, 6-40, 6-42, 6-46, 6-50, 6-54, 6-56, 6-60, 6-64, 6-68, 6-72, 6-74 : FT.