The Wildcats recorded only their second ever home Super League win over the Rhinos on a memorable night at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.
Andy Raleigh opened the night’s scoring and his try was added to by Paul Sykes, Danny Kirmond, Danny Washbrook, Kyle Wood, Dean Collis and Peter Fox as Wakefield sent the majority of a bumper crowd of over 9,500 home happy.
Ryan Hall scored a hat-trick for the defeated Rhinos, each score coming from a kick-play, with Kallum Watkins the other Rhinos scorer following an intercept as Trinity’s defence stood up to what the Champions had to throw at it.
Richard Agar made just one change to his side with Frankie Mariano coming in for the suspended Ali Lauitiiti as expected. Leeds shuffled their pack and welcomed back Brent Webb at full-back with German international Jimmy Keinhorst starting on the replacements bench.
The home side controlled early proceedings aided by some Leeds indiscipline which included Brent Webb cleaning out Kirmond when the Wildcats skipper had chipped over the full-back following a clean break.
The breakthrough came on ten minutes when Raleigh drove at the heart of the Rhinos defence and with his ball carrying arm not touching the ground, he reached out and dotted the ball down to mark his 250th career appearance with the opening score.
Leeds responded with their first real field position of the game and immediately threatened when Ryan Hall was put into the clear and his run in-field opened up the space from which he found Webb. Richard Silverwood referred the decision to the video referee and he came to the conclusion that an obstruction had taken place and chalked off the try.
It was a momentary reprieve for Wakefield though as Stevie Ward intercepted a Tim Smith pass ten metres from the Leeds line, raced 50 metres and with the Trinity defence covering, had the composure to put Watkins in for the four-pointer.
Wakefield were next to be denied by the officials as Tim Smith’s towering spiral bomb bounced and although Kirmond batted back for Ellis to go over, Silverwood ruled it out for offside.
Moments later and it was the Wildcats who only had themselves to blame for not converting an opportunity as a diving Mariano failed to scoop the ball up cleanly from a grubber with the line at his mercy at the end of an entertaining first quarter.
Silverwood again felt the wrath of the Wildcats faithful when he penalised Sykes for carrying on after being tackled, seeming going against the new ruling which allows the chance to play the ball after such an infringement, and only some excellent scramble defence kept out the resulting Leeds attack.
After weathering that spell of pressure Wakefield responded with a period of field position of their own and after getting a repeat set, Sykes took on the line himself and held Sinfield at arm’s length to get over for an impressive individual score.
Leeds were rattled, highlighted by Sinfield sending the restart out on the full and within a few tackles Kirmond was in a hole and getting over for a third Wakefield score.
The crowd’s voices were raised again in the next set as Sykes put a long pass out on the last, Mariano swatted off Sinfield and his kick through just eluded Sykes for a let off for Leeds.
Trinity were guilty of blowing a gilt edged chance in their next use of the ball, Paul Johnson with excellent footwork to put him one-on-one with Hardaker but his final pass to Sykes didn’t match the quality of the build-up work and the stand-off couldn’t collect the ball.
Leeds were always going to come out firing at the start of the second half and they got the first score through Hall. Wakefield defended the set well but Fox was too keen to try and pressure Hall as he waited to take Sinfield’s cross field kick and allowed the winger a route down the touchline to score.
It was soon back-to-back tries as Sinfield hoisted a kick and Hall had the run and jump on Mathers to gather and score.
For almost the entire first fifteen minutes of the second half Wakefield couldn’t get out of their own defensive quarter and it took a break from Wood to break the stranglehold that Leeds had on the game. He shot through a gap, found Sykes in support and although his ball to Amor saw the prop dragged down, Wakefield maintained their composure to shift the ball left and Washbrook was over in the corner.
Wakefield’s supporters were soon celebrating again. A fortuitous ricochet from Sykes’ kick found Kylie Leuluai helplessly offside but Wakefield were unforgiving in making the most of the chance. First an offload from Kyle Amor and then Raleigh put Wood in space to dart over from close range.
Wildcats fans had been here before as they entered the last ten minutes ahead against Leeds, and nerves were jangling even more when Sinfield slid a sliderule kick through and Hall gathered for a hat-trick score.
But Fox went over in the corner in the dying moments to cap a fantastic derby win over the World Champions.
Wakefield: Mathers; Fox, Collis, L Smith, Cockayne; Sykes, T Smith; Amor, Ellis, Raleigh, Mariano, Kirmond, Washbrook.
Replacements: Wood, Wilkes, Johnson, Trout.
Leeds: Hardaker; Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Ward, Hall; Webb, Sinfield; Leuluai, Burrow, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Hauraki, Kirke.
Replacements: Lunt, Keinhorst, Moore, Griffin.
Referee: Richard Silverwood (Dewsbury).
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.