THEY MAY be a bogey team now, but 10 years ago this week Warrington Wolves could not cope with a classy Leeds Rhinos performance.
Tony Smith, the current Warrington coach, was in charge of Rhinos and they turned on a sparkling second-half display to crush the hosts 52-10.
It was a memorable afternoon for Keith Senior, who scored the 200th try of his career, and a morale-boosting victory for Rhinos.
They had suffered heartbreak in their previous match when Phil Bailey’s try on the final play earned Wigan a 20-18 success at Headingley.
Ben Westwood, yellow-carded in Warrington’s win over Leeds on the same ground last Friday, opened the scoring in the clash on April 15, 2007, with a try which he also converted.
It took Leeds until the 29th minute to get on the scoreboard through Gareth Ellis, who finished powerfully following a drop-out which he had forced by trapping Richie Barnett in-goal.
Kevin Sinfield landed the first of his eight goals from nine attempts to level the scores and Leeds went ahead soon afterwards when Danny McGuire sent Clinton Toopi in.
Warrington hit back with a touchdown by Brent Grose which squared the scores two minutes before half-time.
But Rhinos grabbed a crucial third try when Scott Donald finished off a thrilling move also involving Sinfield, Senior and McGuire.
The conversion made it 18-10 at the break and Leeds were too good in the second half, running in six unanswered tries.
Two touchdowns in the opening six minutes ended Warrington’s hopes, Senior and Rob Burrow going over.
Jamie Thackray – set to play against Leeds for Doncaster in next week’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup fifth-round tie – went in for a spectacular try to make it 36-10 after 54 minutes.
From then on it was a question of how many Leeds would score. It was 12 more minutes before Brent Webb added to their total and McGuire crossed soon afterwards.
It looked as though Warrington would keep the total below 50, but Thackray’s off-load sent McGuire into space and his chip was touched down by Burrow to bring up the half century five minutes from time.
(Tries Westwood, Grose. Goal Westwood)
Leeds Rhinos 52 (Tries Burrow 2, Ellis, Toopi, Donald, Senior, Thackray, Webb, McGuire. Goals Sinfield 8)
super league april 15, 2007
Warrington Wolves: Reardon. Fa’afili, Martin Gleeson, Grose, Barnett, Anderson, Clarke, Rauhihi, Mark Gleeson, Bracek, Westwood, Wainwright, Harrison. Subs Riley, Jerram, Cooper, Pickersgill.
Leeds Rhinos: Webb, Donald, Gibson, Senior, Smith, McGuire, Burrow, Peacock, Diskin, Bailey, Jones-Buchanan, Ellis, Sinfield. Subs Thackray, Toopi, Kirke, Leuluai.
Referee: Ben Thaler.
Rhinos ended a four-game losing run by beating Hull 20-18 at Headingley on April 15. Try scorers – in Rhinos’ third win of the season – were Jimmy Keinhorst, Jordan Lilley, who kicked four goals, and Jamie Jones-Buchanan.
Twenty years ago yesterday Leeds marked Iestyn Harris’ full debut with a 13-12 home win over St Helens, whose Bobbie Goulding missed a conversion from in front of the posts in the final minute. Paul Sterling crossed for Leeds and Harris kicked four goals and a drop.
Leeds played nine games in April, including six in the first 15 days. Thirty-one days ago tomorrow they were crushed 35-6 by Warrington at Headingley in front of just 5,315 fans. Mark Conway was their try scorer and David Creasser kicked a goal.
Leeds suffered four league defeats in nine days, losing 7-6 at Hunslet on April 8, 3-0 at home to Hull KR the next day, 35-16 at Wakefield on April 11 and 12-10 at Castleford on April 16. That was the day after an 8-0 home win over Warrington in a Challenge Cup quarter-final replay.