Leeds Rhinos nostalgia: Winger Donald’s double settles pulsating derby in the Rhinos’ favour

Scott Donald
Scott Donald
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IN THE 2000s games between Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls were the biggest in Super League.

The arch-rivals fought out a series of ferocious battles in front of huge crowds, often with the result hanging in the balance until the final moments.

That was the case nine years ago tomorrow when Rhinos hit back to snatch a dramatic 18-14 victory, thanks to Scott Donald’s last-gasp try.

It was Jamie Peacock’s second season at Leeds, following his move from Bradford and he led from the front in what was, at the time, his best performance for Rhinos.

For a while it looked as though his huge effort would come to nothing as – in front of a crowd of 16,706 – the home team opened a 14-6 lead.

They went ahead through two penalty goals from Paul Deacon, but Donald levelled the scores with a fine finish after Rob Burrow, Danny McGuire, Brent Webb and Keith Senior had handled.

Kevin Sinfield kicked Leeds in front with a penalty goal, but Brent Webb was sin-binned following a series of high tackles and Bulls took advantage to regain the lead when Marcus St Hilaire crossed, after a build-up involving another ex-Leeds man Iestyn Harris.

Deacon added a third penalty to make it 10-6 at half-time and Bradford seemed to be taking control when Lesley Vainikolo touched down to make it 14-6 early in the second half.

Chris Feather, also a former Rhinos player, had been involved in that move. There were two other ex-Leeds men, Terry Newton and Chris McKenna, in Bulls’ 17.

It was nip and tuck after that, but Rhinos got the vital next score with 15 minutes remaining when Gareth Ellis touched down from a kick by Sinfield, whose conversion cut the gap to two points.

It stayed that way until the 78th minute, when Leeds snatched a memorable win in thrilling fashion.

Peacock’s offload to McGuire began the move. The No 6 burst downfield, drew the cover and passed to Donald, who scored at the corner. Sinfield’s goal completed the scoring.