LEEDS RHINOS have had more than their fair share of memorable moments in the past 14 years, but 2006 was a season to forget.
Rhinos had been runners-up in all three domestic competitions the previous year, but suffered a shock Challenge Cup semi-final defeat by Huddersfield Giants in 2006.
They also slipped a place to third in the Super League table and fell at the first hurdle in the play-offs.
Finishing outside the top-two meant Rhinos were playing sudden-death from the start, but they were expected to be too strong for sixth-placed Warrington Wolves.
The visitors had never won in the play-offs and were crushed 54-16 on their previous visit to Headingley just three weeks before the elimination tie, which was played on September 22.
Kick-off was delayed by 10 minutes because the Warrington team were stuck in traffic en-route to Headingley and they left it late to seal a win which left Rhinos shattered.
A Rob Burrow try got Leeds off to a flying start, but Warrington replied through Henry Fa’afili after a Lee Briers kicked a 40-20.
Paul Rauhihi had a touchdown ruled out by the video referee before Burrow sent Danny McGuire in for his 27th try of the season and Kevin Sinfield’s second conversion opened a 12-4 lead after 20 minutes.
Briers booted a penalty before the interval and Warrington reduced the gap to two points through a Mike Sullivan try early in the second half.
Sinfield replied with two penalties to put a converted try between the sides, but that was cancelled out when Briers converted a Ben Westwood try on the hour.
With 12 minutes left Leeds went back in front through a Sinfield drop goal, but Briers replied in similar fashion and then – with 84 seconds left – booted a 40-metre drop goal in the final minute to send Warrington through.
Leeds Rhinos 17
(Tries: Burrow, McGuire. Goals: Sinfield 4. Drop goal: Sinfield)
Warrington W 18 (Tries: Fa’afili, Sullivan, Westwood. Goals: Briers 2. Drop goals: Briers 2).
September 22, 2006, Elimination play-off
Leeds Rhinos: Tansey, Donald, Toopi, Senior, Walker, McGuire, Burrow, Jones-Buchanan, Diskin, Peacock, Kirke, Ellis, Sinfield. Subs: Lauitiiti, Thackeray, Bailey, Millard.
Warrington Wolves: Reardon, Fa’afili, Martin Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Barnett, Briers, Bridge, Wood, Mark Gleeson, Rauhihi, Swann, Wainwright, Westwood. Subs: Parker, Pickersgill, Sullivan, Riley.
Referee: Richard Silverwood.