TWELVE YEARS ago Leeds Rhinos were in white-hot form as they put Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and Wigan Warriors to the sword.
Rhinos ran in 140 points and conceded only six in back-to-back wins during which they scored a blistering 26 tries.
Wildcats were the victims on June 10, being beaten 70-6 at Belle Vue. That was their heaviest defeat in 238 meetings between the teams.
Ali Lauitiiti became the first substitute to score five tries in a Super League game, opening his account five minutes before the break and then crossing four times from the 52nd to 62nd minutes.
Rhinos scored only once in the opening 22 minutes, through Richard Mathers, but then Marcus Bai, Keith Senior, Lauitiiti and Willie Poching touched down to make it 28-6 at the break.
Mathers added a second after half-time and Rob Burrow, Barrie McDermott and Gareth Ellis continued the spree.
Rhinos fans may have felt things could not get any better, but they did eight days later. The 70-0 rout at Headingley was Wigan’s club record defeat, though only for a week until a 75-0 Challenge Cup quarter-final humiliation at St Helens.
It was also a nightmare for Warriors’ recently-appointed coach Ian Millward who had been in charge of Saints when they lost by the same score at Leeds the previous season.
Five players – Burrow, Chev Walker, McDermott, Mark Calderwood, three days after it was confirmed he would be leaving at the end of the season, and Danny McGuire – bagged a brace for Leeds, who led 24-0 at half-time, but nobody managed a hat-trick.
Other try scorers were Andrew Dunemann, Senior and Lauitiiti and Sinfield (eight) and Burrow (one) added goals.
Wigan’s team included Liam Botham, a recent signing from Leeds and young prospect James Coyle, who later went on to play for and coach Hunslet.
The only try conceded by Rhinos in the two games came in the 27th minute at Wakefield when Jamie Rooney touched down from Ben Jeffries’ grubber kick and also added the extras.
Leeds Rhinos 70
(Tries: Burrow 2 Walker 2, McDermott 2, Calderwood 2, McGuire 2, Dunemann, Senior, Lauitiiti. Goals: Sinfield 8, Burrow)
Wigan Warriors 0
Juner 18, 2005, Super League
Leeds Rhinos: Mathers, Calderwood, Walker, Senior, Bai, Sinfield, Burrow, Bailey, Dunemann, Ward, McKenna, Jones-Buchanan, Ellis. Subs: Lauitiiti, Poching, McGuire, McDermott.
Wigan Warriors: Brown, Carney, Aspinwall, Botham, Melling, Moran, Coyle, Guisset, Newton, Sculthorpe, Hansen, Tickle, Allen. Subs: SeuSeu, Godwin, Wild, Tomkins.
Referee: Ian Smith.
Leeds Rhinos recorded a second successive win with a 32-6 victory at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats on June 17. Brad Singleton crossed twice, Liam Sutcliffe scored a try and eight goals and Mitch Achurch also touched down.
Three years ago today Rhinos were beaten 24-22 by Huddersfield Giants at Headingley. Leeds’ try scorers were Ben Jones-Bishop, Kallum Watkins, Liam Sutcliffe and Ryan Bailey and Kevin Sinfield added three goals.
Lee Smith scored a hat-trick of tries and kicked seven goals in Leeds’ 42-22 win at Harlequins seven years ago today. Other try scorers for Leeds were Brent Webb, Luke Ambler and half-backs Carl Ablett and Paul McShane. Rhinos were without their England players due to a Test against France being played in Leigh at the same time.
Rhinos suffered a second successive World Club Championship defeat when they were beaten 34-8 at Adelaide Rams 20 years ago tomorrow. Leroy Rivett and Ryan Sheridan scored Leeds’ ties.