Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 30 , Leeds Rhinos 34
Magic Weekend at Murrayfield, Edinurgh.
The Wildcats were three minutes from snatching their second win over Leeds Rhinos in the 2010 season.
It took the Rhinos 77 minutes to crush proud Wakefield who took the Engage Super League by surprise with an amazing five try first half blast that rocked the Rhinos.
This was a sickening disappointment for Kear and his men who now drop out of the top eight ironically to be replaced by the Rhinos. But at least Wakefield emerged from the game with their pride in tact and something on which Kear can now build for the second half of the season.
Given the problems the Wildcats have endured during the last three weeks the first half of their Magic Weekend showdown with reigning Engage Super League champions Leeds Rhinos was awe-inspiring.
What ever Head coach John Kear and first team coach Paul Broadbent said to the patched up Wildcats team, before they went out, it worked.
Defensively Wakefield put their bodies on the line and frustrated the Rhinos attacking machine which looked to have been finding their form in their last four games.
Trinity, on the other hand, had just one win in their last last six outings to show for their labours.
Even before the kick off Kear and Broadbent more problems as Danny Kirmond pulled in out in the warm up with a back spasm.
There were ominous signs when the Rob Burrow touched down after four minutes but it was ruled out by referee Thierry Alibert because of an obstruction.
Then the Wildcats went to work. Stand off Ben Jeffries(pictured) used a slight of hand to ghost his way through the Leeds defence for an eighth miunute try that he also converted.
Four minutes later the Wildcats delighted the travelling Wildcat faithful when Jeffries lofted a high kick into the corner targetting the injured Burrow. Damien Blanch snatched the ball from the scrum half’s fingers and rounded behind the posts to score. Jeffries converted.
The Rhinos tried to pull the Wildcats back within reach. Ryan Hall was left unmarked on the Leeds left wing and he placed the ball down for their first try in the 21st minute. Sinfield missed with the goal kick.
Four minutes later Leeds picked up their second try. Ian Kirke broke through the line, Webb carried the ball forward and then moved inside to the supporting Brent Webb who went on to touch down. Sinfield converted.
The Wildcats then subjected the Rhinos to a three-try blitz. Paul Johnson posted his first try in Wakefield colours in the 31st minute when he surged over from close range and Jeffries added the goal points.
Some smart thinking by centre Sean Gleeson – he tapped the ball along the line rather trying to control it – made the overlap possible for Blanch to go over in the corner in the 35th minute. Jeffries missed his first kick at goal but he got another chance a minute later.
Tevita Leo-Latu danced through the Rhinos defence from close to the halfway line and romped over close to the posts to score Trinity’s fifth try. Jeffries converted.
Disappointingly, Leeds succeded in scoring a try two seconds from the end of the first half. Again the Wildcats were exposed on the flank and Ryan Hall was sent in for a try by Keith Senior. Crucially, Sinfield added the goal points with a superb comversion from wide out.
And Leeds were the first to score in the second half. Amazingly four Wakefield defenders failed to prevent 20-year- old scrum half Chris Clarkson touching down when there didn’t look to be any danger. Sinfield converted.
Jeffries raised the Trinity hopes when he banged over a 61st minute penalty but the Leeds march continued when Ryan Hall completed his hat-trick 15 minutes from the end and Sinfield hit the goal target with another long range effort.
The Wildcats were in sight of a famous victory when Leeds got out of jail with a try three miutes from the end through hooker Danny Buderus and Sinfield added the conversion.
It was a cruel moment for the Wildcats who produced a wonderful first-half display but it must surely bode well if the players can continue to deliver perfomances of that first half quality.
Leeds: Webb, Smith, Delaney, Senior, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Bailey, Buderus, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Kirke, Sinfield.
Replacements: Diskin, Clarkson, Burgess, Ambler.
Wakefield: Murphy, Blanch, Gleeson, Demetriou, George, Jeffries, Obst, Korkidas, Leo-Latu, King, Ferguson, Johnson, Henderson.
Replacements: Bibb, Morton, Davey, Moore.
Referee: T Alibert (Toulouse) . Halftime: 28-16