The Rhinos secured a vital two points on a forgettable night at Belle Vue.
Leeds managed to edge a disappointing Wakefield side on a night where the weather reflected the game. Damp and miserable, many predicted that this game would be decided by which team held their composure and limited mistakes. The Rhinos certainly held their composure after being forced into four goal line drop outs early on. Winger Ash Handley was on hand time and again to prevent valuable Wakefield tries, as Danny Brough’s accuracy with the boot provided Wakefield with a number of scoring chances.
Leeds seized their opportunities and two penalties resulted in a four-point Rhinos lead, as Liam Sutcliffe found form with the boot. The Rhinos maintained their lead, going into the break four nil up, as Wakefield couldn’t find a way over the line.
Mistakes and solid defence prevented Wakefield from scoring in the second half. Tui Lolohea scored the first try of the game after intercepting a wayward Wakefield pass and breaking away to the other end of the pitch. Sutcliffe missed the conversion but added a further to before the full-time whistle to end the game 10-0.
Leeds defence improving
Many Leeds fans were calling for the appointment of Shaun Wane in order to sort out the Rhinos’ woeful defence. However, Richard Agar seems to have found a way to shore up the side. The Rhinos looked composed and in sync whenever Wakefield had the ball.
Wakefield struggling without Fifita
Wakefield were clearly missing a player to drive in the hard yards. Trinity seemed far too keen to shift the ball out wide and try for all or nothing plays, which was less than effective due to the conditions at Belle Vue on Friday. Most of their mistakes came from the flanks, and a player like Fifita would have been able to drive them into scoring positions and remove the anxiety from the side.
Kallum Watkins shows he still has it
Despite it being announced he will leave the club at the end of the season, Kallum Watkins put in a performance to be proud of. The centre was a huge reason why the Rhinos were so outstanding defensively and didn’t put a foot wrong all game. Some will speculate whether this was because he is now trying to be recruited by another club, or because he has had some stress lifted. One thing is for sure though, Leeds fans will be delighted to have Watkins back at his best.
Robert Hicks had a great game
Far too often referees are criticized in rugby league, sometimes rightly and sometimes wrongly. But Robert Hicks had a solid game on Friday. He quickly let players know what sort of game he wanted to see played, but was also understanding of the conditions and the difficulties players would have.
Wakefield Trinity 0
Drop Goals: n/a
Leeds Rhinos 10
Goals: Sutcliffe (3)
Drop Goals: n/a
Wakefield Trinity: Hampshire, Lyne, Jones-Bishop, Miller, Brough, England, Ashurst, Randell, Kopczak, Batchelor, Croft, Sa’u, Tanginoa
Interchanges: Wood, Hirst, King, Crowther
Leeds Rhinos: Briscoe, Watkins, Hurrell, Handley, Lolohea, Myler, Singleton, Merrin, Dwyer, Sutcliffe, Ferres, Newman, Seumanufagai
Interchanges: Cuthbertson, Oledzki, Smith, Donaldson