NOT MANY teams hit back to win at Wigan Warriors after trailing by 16 points at half-time.
Leeds Rhinos managed it 10 years ago this week, pulling off what was then regarded as one of their best Super League wins.
Danny McGuire inspired an astonishing turnaround, on February 17, 2006, scoring Leeds’ second try and setting up the clincher for half-back partner Rob Burrow as Rhinos sealed an remarkable 24-16 triumph.
It was only Jamie Peacock’s second competitive game for Rhinos and he set a magnificent lead, alongside captain Kevin Sinfield, who was among the try scorers.
The fightback was begun by another off-season recruit, substitute hooker Shane Millard, who touched down for Leeds’ opening try seven minutes into the second half.
Millard then sent McGuire stepping over and – with Sinfield booting two conversions – the gap was suddenly down to just four points.
There was no more scoring for 24 tense minutes as Leeds twice survived huge scares, Lee Smith making a try-saving tackle on Brett Dallas before Pat Richards knocked on just short.
With eight minutes remaining Rhinos hit the front when Kevin Sinfield dived over from Matt Diskin’s pass and then picked himself up to add the conversion.
And Leeds’ travelling fans were sent into raptures a minute from time. Peacock and Diskin worked the ball to McGuire and he made a break which was gleefully finished by Burrow. Sinfield’s fourth goal completed the scoring and one of Leeds’ best fightbacks.
Earlier Wigan had seemed on course for a comfortable win in the round two fixture, scoring tries through Joel Tomkins, Wayne Godwin and Chris Ashton, two of them converted by Danny Tickle.
Afterwards, Sinfield hailed Rhinos’ “great character”. He said: “We were up against it, but we showed the sort of character we’ve got in the dressing room.
“I am lucky to go to work with these blokes every day. I am delighted.”
Wigan’s team included former Leeds winger Mark Calderwood.
He reflected: “You never know with Leeds, they have got the team to do something like that.
“Being 16-0 up at half-time we knew the game wasn’t won. They are a quality team and we knew they weren’t going to give in.”
Wigan Warriors 16
(Tries: Tomkins, Godwin, Ashton. Goals: Tickle 2).
Leeds Rhinos 24 (Tries: Millard, McGuire, Sinfield, Burrow. Goals: Sinfield 4).
super league round two February 17, 2006
Wigan Warriors: Ashton, Calderwood, Richards, Vaealiki, Dallas, O’Loughlin, Moran, Logan, Higham, Paleaaesina, Hargreaves, Tickle, Hansen. Subs (all used): Tomkins, Brown, Seuseu, Godwin.
Leeds Rhinos: Mathers, Donald, Walker, Senior, Smith, McGuire, Burrow, Bailey, Diskin, Peacock, Lauitiiti, Ellis, Sinfield. Subs (all used): Millard, Poching, Jones-Buchanan, Scruton.
Referee: Richard Silverwood. Attendance: 17,281.