Wakefield were edged out for the second week running at the hands of the Rhinos who took a 31-24 victory away from the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.
Late tries from Carl Ablett and Rob Burrow denied Richard Agar’s side who has taken the lead with just eight minutes left on the clock.
The Wildcats tries came from Frankie Mariano, Justin Poore and a double from Paul Aiton but it was in vain in another narrow loss.
Before the game coach Richard Agar was able to welcome back centre Dean Collis and forward Taulima Tautai back into the team following injuries. However they were dealt a huge blow right before kick-off with Danny Kirmond picking up an injury ruling him out of the game, that meant Ali Lauitiiti started with Reece Lyne coming in on the bench.
The Rhinos made several changes to their team with skipper Kevin Sinfield starting at hooker and youngster James Duckworth making his debut on the wing. Prop Kylie Leuluai also returned on the bench for the Champions.
The visitors had all the early possession and territory but the Wildcats defence held firm and countered by opening the scoring, hooker Paul Aiton splitting the defence with a superb individual run from dummy half.
The game then became an arm wrestle again but it was still Leeds having the better of it with two tries disallowed for a forward pass and obstruction.
As the half wore on the pressure remained with Trinity’s defence, but it stayed strong and after a rare spell in their opponent’s half referee Ben Thaler awarded Wakefield a penalty, but Lee Smith was unable to kick it.
The Rhinos took full advantage of that missed opportunity as after forcing a repeat set, a long bouncing ball from Rob Burrow found debutant James Duckworth to score in the corner.
Kevin Sinfield’s conversion levelled the game at 6-6 which is how the score remained after a frantic first half.
The second half started at the same frenetic pace and after the Wildcats forced a drop out, they took the lead for the second time as great work from Ali Lauitiiti, Lee Smith and Tim Smith allowed Paul Aiton to score his second try.
Leeds then begun to make numerous errors in their own half handing Trinity the initiative but they were unable to take advantage as Dean Collis knocked on from close range.
Brian McDermott’s side got their second try a short time later as Ben Jones-Bishop mopped up a loose kick before running 95 metres to dot down under the posts.
Sinfield’s conversion made it 12-12 with 55 minutes gone.
This try gave the Rhinos confidence who started to gain better field position, this allowed Kevin Sinfield to kick over a drop to edge his side ahead with 15 minutes to go.
Leeds momentum continued as Joel Moon scored their third try a minute later after Wakefield had kicked the restart out on the full. Sinfield once again converted making it 19-12 to the visitors.
Richard Agar’s men responded almost immediately, after gaining a scrum from the restart Paul Aiton’s flat pass allowed Justin Poore to crash over from close range to leave Trinity just a point behind again.
The turnaround was complete three minutes later as a penalty piggybacked the Wildcats down field and another flat ball, this time from Richard Mathers, allowed Frankie Mariano to continue his impressive try scoring form.
Lee Smith added the extras to make the score 24-19 with just eight minutes left.
Unfortunately the Wildcats were unable to hang onto that lead as a deflected kick on the last tackle allowed Carl Ablett to touch down. Sinfield made no mistake with the kick meaning Leeds took a 25-24 lead into the last four minutes.
That wasn’t the end as Rob Burrow scored with last play of the game, Sinfield’s fifth successful conversion meant it finished 31-24 in favour of the visitors.
Wildcats: Mathers, Fox, Collis, L. Smith, Cockayne, Washbrook, T. Smith, Poore, Aiton, Amor, Mariano, Lauitiiti, Trout. Replacements: Raleigh, Lyne, Wilkes, Tautai.
Rhinos: Jones-Bishop, Duckworth, Hardaker, Moon, Hall, Sutcliffe, Burrow, Singleton, Sinfield, Peacock, Clarkson, Ablett, Delaney. Replacements: Leuluai, Moore, Kirke, Foster.
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.