AUSTRALIAN WINGER Scott Donald is remembered fondly by Leeds Rhinos’ fans.
The former Manly Sea Eagles flier scored 92 tries in 145 appearances from 2006-2010 and was part of the famous three-peat, the successive Grand Final triumphs in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
His try against St Helens in the 2007 Old Trafford showpiece was probably his most famous touchdown for Leeds, but arguably his best came in a game played seven years ago this week.
On June 6, 2008, Rhinos came from behind to beat Hull 38-22 at Headingley, in a match illuminated by Donald’s astonishing long-range score.
The home side trailed 18-0 early on and were 20-4 behind soon after the break, but produced a scintillating display of attacking rugby in the second half. They got back into the contest on 46 minutes when Rob Burrow – so often a thorn in Hull’s side – raced over from 20 metres.
From the kick-off, Brent Webb and Luke Burgess worked the ball to Donald and he burst down field, leaving the entire defence flat-footed as he cut infield and then out again before plunging over at the corner.
Hull players appealed for an obstruction during Donald’s run, but referee Ben Thaler was having none of it and the try was awarded. Kevin Sinfield converted from close to the touchline – for one of his five goals on the night – and Leeds went on to dominate the rest of the game.
Gareth Ellis’ converted try, moments after Hull’s Adam Dykes had been sin-binned for a professional foul on Matt Diskin, levelled the scores and though Danny Tickle edged Hull back in front with a penalty goal, Leeds could not be stopped.
Burrow put Donald over to give the hosts the lead, then Sinfield’s break set up a try for Ellis. Hull, desperate to find a way back into the match, went for a short re-start, Matt Sing knocked the ball back and Burrow gathered to race 55 metres for his second try, sealing a win which kept Leeds top of the table.
Earlier it had been all Hull, the visitors building a big lead through tries by Willie Manu, Graeme Horne and Tickle, all after Rhinos’ hesitant defence failed to deal with tricky kicks to the corner.
Tickle converted all three – later adding a penalty at the start of the second half – and it looked as though Leeds would be kept off the scoreboard in the opening period, but Keith Senior powered over to get Rhinos off the mark five minutes before the break, following a penalty in front of the posts.
Leeds Rhinos 38
(Tries: Burrow 2, Donald 2, Ellis 2, Senior. Goals: Sinfield 5)
Hull FC 22
(Tries: Manu, Horne, Tickle. Goals: Tickle 5)
Super League, June 6, 2008
Leeds Rhinos: Webb, Hall, Ablett, Senior, Donald, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Diskin, Bailey, Anselme, Ellis, Sinfield. Subs Jones-Buchanan, Burgess, Scruton, Tansey.
Hull FC: Byrne, Sing, G Horne, Yeaman, Briscoe, Hall, Dykes, Dowes, Houghton, Carvell, Manu, Radford, Tickle. Subs Thackray, Burnett, Dale, Wheeldon.
Referee: Ben Thaler.