Wakefield came into this game against Challenge Cup winner Leeds looking for a third win on the trot, having successfully climbed off the bottom of the table.
The Rhinos, on the other hand, were seeking to secure a play-off place off the back of Monday’s hard-fought win against Castleford, as the disjointed season entered its business end.
They put down a marker in their opening set, forcing a drop-out from Trinity, but the pressure came to nothing and the game settled into an undecided tussle for the opening period, with teams trading errors.
Then on-loan Innes Senior ran clear along the right touchline for Trinity and passed inside to full back Max Jowitt who crossed the Leeds tryline. Ryan Hampshire couldn’t kick the conversion, but Wakefield were on the right side of a 0-4 scoreline, with just over 10 minutes of the game played.
Jowitt cropped up again on 20 minutes to receive a pass from Tom Jonstone on the left wing and cross to take the score out to 0-8. Hampshire made no mistake with his second conversion attempt and Trinity led 0-10.
David Fifita powered over 10 minutes later, with his first try of the season confirmed by the video referee. Hampshire goaled it and the score read 0-16 in Trinity’s favour.
Jowett completed his hattrick just seconds from the half-time hooter as persistent Wakefield pressure in the Rhinos’ 10m saw him barge over on right, but Hampshire failed to convert again, just 10 in from the right-hand touchline, and the teams trooped off for a half-time talk with Trinity 20-0 up.
After the break, both teams came close to scoring in the first 10 minutes, but Brett Ferres passed the ball forward under the Wakefield posts, while Senior lost the ball forward while trying to beat two tacklers to score in the corner at the other end.
Leeds needed consistent pressure to overcome their 20-point deficit and while they played most of the second half’s opening 20 in the Wakefield half – and largely kept Trinity there when they were in possession – they could not break through a sterling defensive performance from their opponents.
Not until a break down the left in the 61st minute by Liam Sutcliffe saw the ball passed out to Ash Handley who ran in to ground the ball in the corner. A conversion by Rhyse Martin meant the Rhinos had broken their duck in the game’s third quarter and were now 14 points behind at 6-20.
Handley had the chance to score again five minutes later, but couldn’t collect Luke Gale’s kick inside the Wakefield in-goal area. Leeds did get force a drop-out though. On the
resulting set Mikolaj Oledzki came close to grounding the ball by the posts, only to be stopped by Fifita’s forearm, and the attack petered out in a knock-on. Then Alex Mellor was sin-binned for a late and high 70th-minute tackle on Wakefield kicker and Leeds were down to 12 men for the rest of the match.
Inevitably, Wakefield made the advantage tell when Senior crossed in the corner to take the score to 24-6, though Hampshire’s conversion failed to go over the crossbar.
To nearly put the icing on the cake, Miller kicked through on the left but Kelepi Tanginoa just failed to ground the ball, despite the play being sent up to the video referee with a try decision on the field. But Trinity didn’t let that phase them, and Senior promptly crossed the line with no doubt. Hampshire converted for a 6-30 victory margin.
The two teams meet again in a delayed round 11 game on Sunday, played at Trinity’s Mobile Rocket Stadium..
Leeds: Walker, Briscoe, A Sutcliffe,L Sutcliffe, Handley (T), Lui, Gle, Oledzki, Leeming, Seumanufagai, Mellor, Martin, Thompson. Replacements: Dwyer, Smith, Holroyd, Ferres.
Wakefield: Jowitt (3T), Senior (2T), Lyne, Tupou, Jonstone, Miller, Hampshire (3G), Fifita (T), Crowther, Arona, Batchelor, Tanginoa, Westerman. Replacements: Wood, Battye, Tangata, Walker.
Referee: Ben Thaler.
Half Time: 0-20
Full Time: 6-30
Venue: Totally Wicked Stadium, St Helens.