Wakefield Trinity v Leeds Rhinos scene-setter: opposition star man, key battle, previous meeting and verdict

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Leeds Rhinos visit Belle Vue on Sunday desperate to avoid becoming the first team beaten by Wakefield Trinity this season.

With Rhinos low on form and struggling with injuries, Trinity will see it as an opportunity to break their duck and keep alive faint hopes of avoiding the drop. Here’s a scene-setter.

Betfred Super League round 15

Where and when?

Wakefield’s David Fifita. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.Wakefield’s David Fifita. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.
Wakefield’s David Fifita. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.

Venue: Be Well Support Stadium, Belle Vue.

Date: Sunday, June 11.

Time: 3pm.

Trinity star man: Big prop David Fifita bade an emotional farewell to Wakefield at the end of the 2022 season, after seven years with the club. He returned from Australia, where he was playing part-time rugby, two weeks ago after answering an sos and will be fired up for a big homecoming.

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On his day, size and destructive running make him hard to handle and he is the sort of player Leeds have struggled to deal with this term

Key battle: Jay Pitts has been a consistent performer for a struggling Trinity side this year and is strong with and without the ball. The former Leeds man will be up against loose-forward Cameron Smith who has a similar influence for Rhinos and is one of their on-field leaders.

Previous meeting: March 10, 2023. Betfred Super League round four. Rhinos 26 (Tries Fusitu’a 2, Newman, Holroyd, Macdonald. Goals Martin 2, Sezer), Trinity 0. Referee: Ben Thaler. Attendance: 11,717.

Verdict: It’s not often a game comes along which both sets of fans expect to lose. Trinity have been beaten in all 15 competitive matches in 2023 and Rhinos won just one of their last six, so neither is high on form or confidence and both have a raft of injuries. But Rhinos have the stronger 21 and played some good rugby this year, while - other than an extra-time defeat at Salford - Trinity haven’t really looked like breaking their duck. If Leeds lose this one it’ll effectively be the end of their season and some serious questions will be asked.