LEEDS RHINOS have been involved in some dramatic finishes in Super League, but the finale to their derby at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats eight years ago today takes some beating.
Leeds trailed 30-16 with 15 minutes left and were eight points behind going into the final two minutes, but back-to-back tries sealed a sensational 32-30 win. It was Leeds’ 15th straight victory at Belle Vue in a run of success stretching back to 1992, but the hosts were left kicking themselves at the end – over not kicking for goal.
Leading 30-22, Wildcats had three chances to take the two from penalties near Rhinos’ line, but on each occasion opted to keep the pressure on in the search for a winning try.
With two minutes left Keith Senior combined with Ryan Hall to carve out a try for Rob Burrow. Kevin Sinfield had gone off, so Lee Smith landed the conversion.
That meant Rhinos still needed to score again, with one attacking set left and they duly applied the knockout blow in classic fashion.
Carl Ablett picked up Danny McGuire’s grubber kick and offloaded to hooker Danny Buderus. He returned the ball to McGuire and it looked like the stand-off would lose his footing, but he still managed to get a pass away to Scott Donald and the Aussie winger crossed on the last play of the game.
Wakefield were left heartbroken after looking likely winners for most of the Sky-televised derby.
Ablett created the opening try for Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Sinfield kicked the first of his three goals, but Wakefield – down to 12 men with Steve Snitch in the sin-bin – hit back through Matt Blaymire, Danny Brough converting and then adding two penalties.
A try by Senior levelled the scores, but Sam Obst’s try – improved by Brough – sent Wakefield in at the break 16-10 ahead. Burrow’s converted try levelled the scores again but tries by Scott Grix and Ryan Atkins, both converted by Brough who also landed a penalty, opened a 14-point gap.
Rhinos’ late fightback began when Ali Lauitiiti went over for a converted try and – despite Brent Webb being sin-binned moments later – they somehow found a way to snatch one of their most remarkable Super League victories.
Wakefield Wildcats 30 (Tries: Blaymire, Obst, Grix, Atkins. Goals: Brough 7)
Leeds Rhinos 32 (Tries: Burrow 2, Jones-Buchanan, Senior, Lauitiiti, Donald. Goals: Sinfield 3, Smith)
Super League, July 10, 2009
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Blaymire, Grix, Gleeson, Atkins, Petersen, Demetriou, Brough, Bibey, Obst, Korkidas, Snitch, Wilkes, Leo-Latu. Subs: Drew, Stosic, Ferguson, Moore.
Leeds Rhinos: Webb, Donald, Smith, Senior, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Lauitiiti, Sinfield. Subs: Peacock, Diskin, Burgess, Worrall.
Referee: Steve Ganson.