Leeds Rhinos 50-28 Wakefield Trinity Wildcats

Rhinos romp to derby spoils in festive clash

By Oliver Roby

PROSPECT: 18-year-old Ash Handley goes in for one of his five tries

Ash Handley ran in five tries as Leeds Rhinos ran out comfortable winners in this traditional Boxing Day fixture at Headingley.

Wakefield began the game on top and were 18-6 up after 18 minutes, but the Rhinos battled back and scored 44 unanswered points to take home the Festive Challenge Trophy in front of a healthy 10,431 crowd.

The Wildcats took the lead with a try after seven minutes from Matt Ryan, before Craig Hall added the conversion from the touchline and then straight from the restart Wakefield broke in similar fashion, putting Jacob Miller clear to score from half way. Craig Hall again improved to make it 12-0 to the visitors.

The hosts replied on 13 minutes as Stevie Ward crashed over following a Danny McGuire pass, Sutcliffe converted, but Wakefield extended their lead once again with Danny Washbrook scoring from a grubber kick soon after.

But, as the 20 minute mark approached, Leeds began to take control of the game with two tries of their own.

First, Ash Handley dived in for his first of the day and then it was McGuire, who got on the end of an expansive team move, who leveled the scores

Handley continued his unforgettable day with two more tries to make it a first half hat-trick. The final try of the half saw Sutcliffe miss his first conversion of the game to leave the score at 28-18 to Leeds going into the break.

The break didn’t halt Leeds’ momentum and Handley was in for his fourth of the day on 50 minutes after breaking two tackles to score in the corner. He then sealed his personal haul of five tries in some style with arguably the try of the game, the winger managed to touching down despite the attentions of several Wakefield defenders.

Sutcliffe added his 5th conversion to make it 38-18 heading into the last quarter of the game, before he added a try of his own. McGuire provided the creativity, stepping through a gap in the middle of the pitch before sending a weighted grubber to the right of the posts for Sutcliffe, which the 20-year-old finished with ease.

The stand off converted his own try to make it 44-18 before substitute Elliot Minchella scored the Rhinos’ ninth of the day to bring up the half century.

As the game wound down, Wakefield rallied and scored first through Matty Ashurst before Pita Godinet scored a trademark close-range try on to give the scoreline a more respectable look.

Attendance: 10,431

NothingButLeague Man of the Match: Ash Handley.

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