Wakefield Trinity 16 Leeds Rhinos 18
Leeds Rhinos boosted their top-four prospects by ending Wakefield Trinity's seven-match winning run in a tense derby at Belle Vue.
Both teams looked weary and there were a host of errors.
Wakefield raced into a 10-0 lead after 11 minutes, but Leeds cut the gap to two points at the interval.
Two tries around the hour mark edged Leeds into an eight-point lead and though Trinity cut the gap with eight minutes left Rhinos held on for a deserved 18-16 win.
Rhinos were close to full-strength. Rob Burrow, who suffered a shoulder injury in last week’s win over Leigh Centurions, was the only player missing from Leeds’ first-choice 13.
Ashton Golding returned from a hamstring injury at full-back and Stevie Ward started in the second-row after a one-match ban.
Ash Handley dropped out of Leeds’ 17 and Jimmy Keinhorst was the only player on their casualty list.
Forwards Mitch Allgood (hand) and Dean Hadley (cheekbone) were back for Trinity and Scott Grix and Bill Tupou also returned, with Ashley Gibson and Reece Lyne dropping out from the team which beat Salford last week..
Danny Kirmond, Jacob Miller, Tinirau Arona, Tom Johnstone and Jon Molloy remained on the injured roster.
Trinity scored the opening try after five minutes. Tupou caught Danny McGuire’s cross kick on Wakefield’s line and slipped the ball to Mason Caton-Brown, whose blistering pace did the rest.
There was a suspicion of an obstruction on Leeds’ chases, but referee Phil Bentham was happy to award the try.
That came after a fine tackle by Joe Arundel on Liam Sutcliffe and another Trinity try-saver led to their second.
Matt Parcell sent Joel Moon into space, but he was stopped by Grix, the ball came loose and Hadley’s offload sent Kyle Wood over.
Back-to-back tries got Leeds back into it. On 19 minutes Ward got over after Keith Galloway and Brad Singleton had both juggled the ball in front of Wakefield’s posts.
Again there was a doubt over the try, but it was awarded. In the next set Parcell began a move inside Leeds’ half, McGuire and Golding worked the ball to Kallum Watkins and his pass was finished by Tom Briscoe.
Neither try was converted and there was no more scoring in the half, though Carl Ablett knocked-on trying to stretch over and then Mitch Gabutt was held up over the Trinity line by Dean Hadley.
Trinity missed a golden opportunity at the start of the second half when Sam Williams and Grix opened up the defence, but the latter’s pass - aimed at Arundel - sailed into touch.
At the other end McGuire got over, but Brett Ferres’ pass was forward, but Leeds did score with 22 minutes left.
Moon ran the ball on the last and supplied Ferres. He shipped on to Watkins and the centre put Briscoe over at the corner.
McGuire was hurt in the build-up, but played on after treatment. At the end of the next set he put up a high kick, Jones-Bishop and Grix collided and the ball popped up to Moon who touched down.
Sutcliffe converted - after three previous misses - to make it 18-10 with a quarter of the game remaining.
Parcell was ruled to have failed to ground Moon’s kick over the line soon afterwards. Wakefield, aided by a flurry of penalties, got back into contention with eight minutes left when Jones-Bishop crossed and Finn converted from the touchline, but the hosts could not make a winning breakthrough.