A fantastic and hard fought battle in torrential rain saw the Wildcats walk away with the win over last season treble winners with a 16-20 victory after Craig Hall got the winning try with a 90-metre run.
Wildcats have grown confidence in defence over recent weeks and this was clear during the first half at the Headingley Carnegie Stadium with Ashurst opening the scoreline.
The Rhinos became ruthless in attack as the first half went along but the visitors managed to hold them off until after the 30 minute mark when the Rhinos pulled it back before a penalty on the stroke of half time meant the visitors were two points in the lead.
Matty Ashurst was the first to put points on the board at Headingley Carnegie, Finn who was in the centre on the 20m mark found Miller to his left who passed to Ashurst, the second-rower raced with the ball to get the first try of the game, Finn converted to put the visitors into the lead on 0-6.
Leeds became persistent and grew stronger within attack pushing the Wildcats further into their own half. A kick from Hardaker caused chaos and bounced off the Wildcats defence, Moon picked up the loose ball and got it over the line to put the Rhinos back into the game with eight minutes of the first half remaining. Sutcliffe converted, 6-6.
Burrow made a mistake in his own half handing the possession back to the Wildcats who had the perfect opportunity to put themselves into the lead going in at half time. Ashurst broke the line from Miller’s pass but he was unable to get the arm free to release Hall.
The Rhinos were then flagged for offside to give the Wildcats a penalty; Finn went for the two points and did not fail to put the Wildcats two points in the lead at half time.
Rhinos looked much more efficient in the second half picking up pace down the centre causing a few headaches for the Wildcats defence. After persistent pressure the home side found themselves in the lead with 10 minutes of the half remaining. But the Wildcats fought back with Craig Hall try in the dying seconds.
A cracking try for the Wildcats to get the second half underway, Arundel set Tom Johnstone free down the wing, he raced 40m before passing to Miller on his right. The stand-off found pace and got the ball under the sticks; Finn added the extra points to put Wildcats 6-14 into the lead.
Soon after the Rhinos were in possession and found themselves getting back into the game, similarly to the first try a Zak Hardaker kick bounced off the Wildcats defence, Watkins picked up the ball and offloaded to Briscoe. Sutcliffe was unable to convert and the Wildcats held onto the lead, 10-14.
It was a nervy five minutes for the Wildcats as the Rhinos were in great strength in the centre on the visitors 30m line. The home side looked very close to scoring once again but Watkins pass to Briscoe in the corner was forward and the visitors were given a lifeline with 17 minutes remaining.
Rob Burrow broke free for the Rhinos and raced away and found Zak Hardaker, he was within inches of getting over the line when Johnstone created a try saving tackle, on the next play Scott Moore was sin binned for a professional foul.
Mitch Achurch eventually got the try the home side were looking for after applying pressure onto the Wildcats defence; Sutcliffe converted to put the home side into the lead on 16-14 with 10 minutes remaining.
Wildcats were awarded another penalty, Finn made no mistake with going for the two points to put it all square at Headingley Carnegie on 16-16.
The home side were then awarded a penalty for the chance to go back into the lead, however Sutcliffe missed to keep the score line 16-16 with three minutes remaining.
Leeds lost possession and Craig Hall picked up the loose ball from his own half, he raced the length of the field to give the Wildcats the win, Finn was unable to convert in torrential rain and the Wildcats walked away with the hard earned 16-20 win.