Super League: Leeds Rhinos hold off gutsy Wakefield challenge
Last Updated: 20/07/13 12:09am
Wakefield's four-match winning run was brought to an end but they pushed champions Leeds all the way before going fdown 20-18 in front of a season's best crowd of 18,387 at Headingley.
The Rhinos dominated the game for long periods but were only able to breathe easily when England winger Ryan Hall scored their fourth try five minutes from the end and Rob Burrow kicked the touchline conversion.
The defeat dents the Wildcats' play-off hopes but they will derive enough confidence from this narrow defeat to believe they can turn the tables in next Friday's re-match at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.
Leeds' star-studded threequarter line came to their rescue, scoring all four tries, with winger Ben Jones-Bishop grabbing two of them before half-time.
Successful 40-20 kicks from Liam Sutcliffe and the outstanding Burrow enabled Leeds to pile on the early pressure but a combination of poor handling and resolute Wakefield defence ensured a scoreless first quarter.
The Rhinos were finally rewarded with the game's first try on 23 minutes after Jamie Peacock and Burrow worked the ball out to the right where Sutcliffe and centre Kallum Watkins produced quick hands to get Jones-Bishop over for his first score.
Zak Hardaker pulled off a fine last-ditch tackle to deny loose forward Kyle Trout after he had been put in the clear by a clever Tim Smith pass but the Wildcats maintained the pressure and it paid off when Smith's grubber kick rebounded off the boot of Jones-Buchanan into the path of replacement prop Andy Raleigh for a simple try.
Lee Smith's goal edged the visitors into a 6-4 lead but Jones-Bishop collected Sutcliffe's precision kick to the corner to claim his second try and Burrow, taking over the goalkicking from Hardaker, added the touchline conversion to make it 10-6 at the break.
Wakefield did not help themselves with a host of handling errors early in the second half while Leeds continued to chance their arm without being able to find the finishing to match their ambition.
Jones-Bishop was bundled into touch by Ben Cockayne in one corner while at the other Ryan Hall was deceived by a high pass from his centre Joel Moon.
Wakefield suffered a body blow when in-form skipper Danny Kirmond hobbled off on 47 minutes and they slipped further behind eight minutes later when Moon accepted Burrow's cut-out pass and side-stepped past winger Peter Fox for Leeds' third try.
Leeds also suffered a major injury blow when Watkins hobbled off 15 minutes from the end and they were forced to endure a nervous last 10 minutes when former player Ali Lauitiiti took Tim Smith's short pass to score Wakefield's second try.
Lee Smith's second goal closed the gap to just two points but Hall made sure of the Rhinos' win when he touched down Burrow's kick to the corner.
Burrow's touchline conversion proved crucial as Cockayne regained possession for Wakefield from the re-start to set up the position for second rower Frankie Mariano to crash over for his side's third try, to which Lee Smith added the goal.
First Utility Super League
Tue 30th Jun
Hull K R34 - 28Salford Red Devils
Wed 1st Jul
Wakefield Wildcats26 - 16Hull FC
Thu 2nd Jul
Warrington Wolves17 - 6Wigan Warriors
Fri 3rd Jul
Leeds RhinosvsSt Helens
Sun 5th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Hull K R
Hull FC0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Thu 9th Jul
Wigan WarriorsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 10th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Sun 12th Jul
Hull FC0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Hull K R
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 16th Jul
Warrington WolvesvsSt Helens
Fri 17th Jul
Hull K RvsHull FC
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 18th Jul
Catalans DragonsvsHuddersfield Giants
Sun 19th Jul
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Jul
Hull FCvsWigan Warriors
Fri 24th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Hull K R
Sun 26th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Super League 2013, round 22
Leeds welcome back England captain Kevin Sinfield in Friday's re-arranged Super League game at Wakefield.
Three Salford players have been given bans in the wake of Friday's stormy Super League game against Catalan Dragons.
Wigan coach Shaun Wane defended his decision to field a weakened side despite suffering a 22-16 defeat to St Helens.
- St Helens edge out Wigan
- Eight facing punching charges
- Depth charge
- Giants climb to the top
- Wolves too strong for Rovers
- Saints v Warriors: Teams
- Betts salutes young Vikings
- City Reds boss hails best win
- Agar looks ahead after loss
- Lawton treble downs Broncos
- Salford heap misery on Dragons
- Bulls revive play-off hopes
- Burrow on the air
- Wolves v Hull KR: Teams
- Giants v Tigers: Teams
- City Reds v Dragons: Teams
- Rhinos v Wildcats: Teams
- Vikings v Broncos: Teams
- Bulls v Hull FC: Teams
- Sammut targets Hull FC clash