Leeds Rhinos 20 Warrington Wolves 22: James Bentley sent-off on debut as hosts suffer cruelest of defeats

Twelve-man Leeds Rhinos suffered the cruelest of defeats to start their season, going down 22-20 to Warrington Wolves at Headingley today.

By Peter Smith
Saturday, 12th February 2022, 4:39 pm

In front of a crowd of 14,135, Rhinos played their hearts out and were the better team in a thrilling, controversial encounter, in which referee Chris Kendall was a central figure.

They played most of the game without James Bentley, who was sent-off in the first quarter of his debut, were down to 11 for a spell with Brad Dwyer in the sin-bin and lost key men Richie Myler and David Fusitu’a to injury.

Even so, they were within seven minutes of a famous win before Warrington snatched it - with a try off a clearly forward pass.

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Zane Tetevano scores Rhinos' first try of the season. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Bentley was sent-off after just 16 minutes for a high tackle on Gareth Widdop.

As he departed, Myler also left the action, having been hurt moments earlier.

Rhinos were down to 11 men seven minutes before the break when Dwyer - who had come on when Myler went off - was sin-binned for an off-the-ball tackle.

And then Fusitu’a - another debutant - didn’t come out for the second half after taking a heavy knock late in the first.

Matt Prior takes a carry for Leeds. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Warrington scored the first time they got into Leeds’ half, after 12 minutes of Rhinos pressure.

Fusitu’a spilled Sezer’s kick on the visitors’ line and in the next set Connor Wrench’s pass sent Matty Ashton sprinting along the left flank, he drew Walker and Gareth Widdop wasin support to score.

Zane Tetervano, who started at prop, crashed over from Dwyer’s pass just four minutes after the red card and Martin’s conversion edged Leeds ahead.

Four minutes after that, Prior - in his 300th career appearance, crashed over from another short pass by Dwyer, the goal making it 12-4.

Warrington had only three attacks in the first half, but scored off two of them, using their extra men to create a huge overlap for Josh Charnley to go over two minutes before the interval, five after Dwyer’s yellow card, Ratchford’s conversion making it 12-10 at the interval.

That was more than Warrington deserved, but Leeds opened the sort of gap they merited 10 minutes into the second half.

Ash Handley did brilliantly to chase and touch down an outstanding grubber kick from Leeming, Martin converted off the touchline and then took the two after Oliver Holmes., another ex-Cas man, was sin-binned for a high shot on James Donaldson.

Charnley scored his second try of the game with 15 minutes and Ratchford added the goal.

Morgan Gannon, Tetevano and Leeming all went close to winning it for Leeds, but they could not hang on.

With six minutes and 38 seconds left, Ratchford sent Wrench over - with a pass which was clearly forward - and the full-back added the extras to win it.

Rhinos' women beat Warrington 26-0 in a pre-season game played after the men's match.

Try scorers were Sam Hulme, Zoe Hornby, Shannon Lacey, Orla McCallion and new signing Sophia Williams.

Tasha Gaines kicked three conversions.

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