Talking points from Leeds Rhinos’ derby victory at Wakefield Trinity

Leeds Rhinos players applaud the fans at Belle Vue.
Leeds Rhinos players applaud the fans at Belle Vue.
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LEEDS RHINOS ended Wakefield Trinity’s seven-game winning streak with a hard-fought 18-16 success at Beaumont Legal Stadium, Belle Vue.

Here are five talking points from the first of three successive West Yorkshire derbies for Rhinos.

Joel Moon on the attack against Wakefield.

Joel Moon on the attack against Wakefield.

1: It was a huge two points for Rhinos and the top-four is beginning to look like a five-horse race.

Wakefield, who dropped to fifth, are still well in it, particularly as there are signs of Salford beginning to struggle. Hull – now fourth, a point behind Leeds – are inconsistent, but Rhinos have a seven-point gap over sixth-placed St Helens and that is a healthy cushion at this stage.

2: Leeds’ kicking game, which is often criticised, was very good and caused Wakefield problems, but they can and need to get better on attack.

Their four tries came in two back-to-back spells and other than that they failed to take a string of chances. The fact they are creating opportunities is encouraging, but they need to be more clinical. That should come if they can keep what is now almost a full-strength back division fit and available. An injury to Joel Moon would be a huge setback though.

3: Trinity have come a long way since the Million Pound Game in 2015, staged a week before Rhinos completed the treble at Old Trafford.

Seven straight victories is good going by any standards and they have already secured a place in the Super-8s. Wakefield have some key players to come back for the business end of the season and they would undoubtedly have swapped a win against Leeds for one at Salford in Thursday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final.

4: Phil Bentham awarded 13 penalties, exactly half as many as there were in Leeds’ previous game. That made it much better to watch. There was a doubt over at least a couple of the tries, but Bentham did a good job overall and at the moment is probably Super League’s most in-form whistler.

5: That said, it was far from a classic. There were too many errors, many of which looked to be due to fatigue. Both teams looked tired and clearly the effects of three games in a week are going to be felt for some time.