HISTORY WAS made when Leeds Rhinos trounced Salford City Reds five years ago tomorrow.
Kevin Sinfield bagged a try and eight goals in Rhinos’ 56-16 victory, becoming the highest points scorer in the history of the Leeds club.
The captain – already Leeds’ most prolific goal kicker and Super League’s top points scorer – went into the game needing 16 points to pass Lewis Jones’s total of 2,920.
At the start, that looked a tall task and the feeling was Sinfield would have to wait for the following week’s game at St Helens.
But Leeds, making their first visit to AJ Bell Stadium, shook off the shock of an early Salford try and, with Sinfield in fine form with the boot, the record looked a real possibility before half-time.
At that stage, Rhinos led 32-4 and they kept the hammer down in the second half. The historic moment came on the hour when Zak Hardaker completed his hat-trick and Sinfield landed a tough conversion to move past Jones’s 48-year-old mark. Sinfield’s 20 points took him to 2,925 for Leeds since his debut in 1997. His first points came in September of the following year when he crossed for a try in a win at Huddersfield Giants and he did not kick his first goal until May, 1999.
“The way we played is more than beating the record,” Sinfield said with typical modesty after Rhinos’ fourth successive Super League win.
“I have played in some great teams and been lucky that most of our tries have been between the posts.”
Sinfield’s feat overshadowed a fine display of finishing by Hardaker, playing in the centres.
Vinnie Anderson opened the scoring for Salford but Hardaker, Brett Delaney, Kallum Watkins, Sinfield, Liam Hood and Danny McGuire replied before half-time.
There was no let-up in the second half. Hardaker ran in back-to-back tries, Rob Burrow went over and Carl Ablett completed the visitors’ haul before Salford salvaged some pride through touchdowns to Gareth Owen and Luke Patten, both improved by Daniel Holdsworth.
Salford City Reds 16
(Tries Anderson, Owen, Patten. Goals Holdsworth 2) Salford City Reds: Patten, Gibson, Gleeson, Nero, Williams, Holdsworth, Smith, McPherson, Howarth, Jewitt, Ashurst, Anderson, Wild. Subs: Adamson, Paleaaesina, James, Owen.
Leeds Rhinos 56
(Tries Hardaker 3, Delaney, Watkins, Sinfield, Hood, McGuire, Burrow, Ablett. Goals Sinfield 8)
super league march 16, 2012 Leeds Rhinos: Webb, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Hardaker, Hall, Sinfield, McGuire, Leuluai, Burrow, Peacock, Clarkson, Delaney, Ablett. Subs: Kirke, Griffin, Moore, Hood.
Referee: Robert Hicks. Attendance: 6,891.
Rhinos shaded Wigan Warriors 18-14 at Headingley four years ago today. Ryan Hall, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Joel Moon were Leeds’ try scorers and Kevin Sinfield booted three goals.
Richie Blackmore scored a brace of tries when Leeds began their Super League campaign, 20 years ago tomorrow, with a 32-22 home win over Oldham Bears. It was the first Super League game under the Rhinos name and other try scorers were Wayne Collins, Adrian Morley, Paul Sterling and Francis Cummins, who added four goals.
Oldham were thrashed 56-10 at Headingley 40 years ago tomorrow, when John Atkinson (pictured) scored four tries and John Holmes, David Smith and Paul Fletcher each bagged a brace. Les Dyl, Graham Eccles, David Ward and Willie Oulton also crossed. Bryan Murrell kicked five goals and Oulton two.
Leeds played three games in six days, beating Hull KR 13-3 at Headingley on March 13, losing 5-3 at home to Halifax on March 15 and suffering a 13-4 defeat at Castleford three days later.