IT’S NOT often teams concede 40 points at home, but still win.
Leeds Rhinos did that five years ago – on June 18, 2012 – when they pipped Wakefield Trinity Wildcats by four points in a high-scoring Monday night thriller at Headingley.
It was the second-highest losing score by a team at Headingley in Super League, after Huddersfield Giants were beaten 52-46 in 2001.
The game was rearranged from Super League round three, in February, when Rhinos beat Manly Sea Eagles to win their third World Club title. The new date gave Rhinos’ management a headache as they had 10 senior players involved in mid-season internationals two days earlier.
Carl Ablett, Ryan Hall, Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock, Rob Burrow and Jamie Jones-Buchanan had all featured in England’s 18-10 win over Exiles.
And Zak Hardaker, Ben Jones-Bishop, Shaun Lunt and Chris Clarkson were in the England Knights side which beat Ireland 62-4.
With Rhinos sitting ninth in the table – outside the play-offs – boss Brian McDermott opted to field his strongest-available team, so all 10 backed up.
Hardaker opened the scoring and Jones-Bishop scored a long-range try before Ben Cockayne, Tim Smith and Dean Collis all crossed to give the visitors the lead.
Touchdowns by Jones-Buchanan and Jones-Bishop – either side of one by former Rhinos hero Ali Lauitiiti, who was playing against Leeds at Headingley for the first time – made it 24-24 at the break.
Kyle Trout went over for Wakefield early in the second half, but Rhinos looked to be getting on top when Weller Hauraki scored and Jones-Bishop completed his hat-trick.
Crucially, Sinfield booted a goal after Wildcats were penalised for dissent and though Oliver Wilkes pulled a try back, Ablett’s touchdown five minutes from time seemed to have sealed it, but Peter Fox set up a tense finish with the final try of the game three minutes later. Sinfield converted all seven of Leeds’ tries and Paul Sykes booted six out of six for Wakefield. The visitors opted not to kick for goal following Fox’s try.