Leeds Rhinos Bygones: Williams’ stunning tackle proves the key as Rhinos’ derby gamble pays off

Lee Smith
Lee Smith
Have your say

NOW PLAYING in the Championship, for Hunslet Hawks and Batley Bulldogs respectively, Michael Haley and Joe Chandler both have a 100 per cent winning record with Leeds Rhinos.

The duo each made just one substitute appearance for Leeds, in a remarkable Super League win seven years ago this week.

When Castleford Tigers ran out at Headingley on June 28, 2008, they faced a Rhinos line-up without 14 first-team players.

Seven Rhinos players featured for England in their 56-8 win over France in Toulouse the night before, making them unavailable for the Super League derby.

With others sidelined through injury, Leeds fielded 13 academy products, plus four overseas players.

It was a huge gamble by the league leaders which looked set to backfire when Tigers led by eight points deep into the final quarter, but – in front of a bumper 17,619 crowd – Leeds rallied to win 18-12.

Richard Owen scored the opening try for Tigers after 19 minutes and a penalty goal from Craig Huby made it 6-0 at the break.

Joe Westerman collected Luke Dorn’s kick for the visitors’ second try six minutes after half-time and Cas – who created a host of opportunities – would probably have won, but for a stunning tackle by Danny Williams on winger Adam Fletcher as he looked set to score at the corner.

Simon Worrall’s pass created a try for Lee Smith, but Huby added a second penalty goal to make it 12-8 on 63 minutes.

Matt Diskin, who was captain for the night, carved out a try for the outstanding Brent Webb – playing at scrum-half alongside Danny Allan – and Smith converted.

That was on 65 minutes and four later Webb put Diskin over, Smith adding the extras.

Cas came roaring back, but Ben Jones-Bishop and Ali Lauitiiti both produced terrific tackles to keep them out before Smith landed a late penalty goal to seal a memorable win.