The Wildcats valiant efforts against the Rhinos once again went unrewarded as they suffered a narrow defeat at the home of the Champions.
Leeds dominated for large periods but sndxjtms were unable to shake off the gutsy Wildcats, tries for Ben Jones-Bishop (2), Moon and Hall proved enough for Leeds.
Andy Raleigh, Ali Lauitiiti and a late effort from Frankie Mariano set up a grandstand finish but Leeds held on for a deserved victory.
The Wildcats ended the game with concerns over skipper Danny Kirmond who was forced off with 30 minutes remaining.
Reece Lyne was named at centre as expected in place of the injured Dean Collis with Danny Washbrook slotting in at stand-off with the absence of Paul Sykes. Kyle Trout returned to the team at loose-forward in the only other change to the seventeen that defeated Widnes Vikings.
The hosts came out firing and the Wildcats defence had to be at its best to keep them out in the opening quarter. Fox did well to snuff out a chance for Ryan Hall and Brad Singleton was held up over the line as the Rhinos dominated.
However, the Wildcats did break down the right from deep as Fox raced clear although his inside ball to Lee Smith saw Leeds scramble back well to deny the former Leeds man.
The Rhinos finally broke the deadlock after 25 minutes, Leeds moving the ball from centre field to the right wing where Jones-Bishop finished off the overlap.
Wakefield were needed to get a foothold in the game and as both sides were guilty of handling errors in the humid conditions they began to claw back some territory. Trout was hauled down when he went through a hole following a trademark no look pass from Tim Smith who then saw his grubber charged down.
That provided a repeat set and when Smith dropped the ball onto his foot again it caused havoc. It took a wicked bounce of Jones-Bishp in the in-goal area, players converged to get on the loose ball, it squirmed towards the dead ball line as Raleigh launched himself full stretch to touchdown in the nick of time.
A response from Leeds wasn’t long in coming though as the impressive Sutcliffe lofted a pinpoint kick to the right corner over a retreating Ben Cockayne who couldn’t prevent Jones-Bishop claiming it above him and seeing his momentum take him to the try line. Burrow converted to give Leeds a 10-6 half-time lead.
The second half started much in the same vein as the first with both sides guilty of losing the ball at regular intervals but the home side generally enjoying the better of territory. It took them until 15 minutes into the second period to get over the line though, Wildcats valiant defence undone when Moon jinked around Fox and raced in at the corner.
Leeds looked to put the game to bed and had three successive sets on the Wildcats line following Moon’s score. Wakefield held on for dear life and hauled themselves back into it when Lauitiiti took a short ball from Tim Smith and rumbled over the line.
Still the pressure came though and Burrow put an accurate kick in which Fox leapt to claim but saw it slip through his fingers, bounce off the shoulder of Lee Smith and into Hall’s hands to score.
It seemed game over with two minutes left but Smith drilled a short restart which Cockayne gathered and broke. Trinity went to the right edge and Mariano powered over, Lee Smith’s conversion bringing Wakefield within two points.
It was set for a grandstand finish but Tim Smith spilled the restart and Leeds played out the final 90 seconds to secure victory.
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.