A hat-trick from Tom Johnstone inspired Wakefield to a 35-18 win over Leeds at the redeveloped Emerald Headingley Stadium.
The Rhinos returned to Headingley after playing the first four matches away while the South Stand was redeveloped, but the team’s performance didn’t match the occasion whatsoever.
Leeds coach Dave Furner made two changes to his outfit that lost at St Helens last week. Matt Parcell and James Donaldson replaced injured duo Jack Walker and Stevie Ward.
Chris Chester made just one change to his Wakefield side that beat Catalans Dragons last time out. Pauli Pauli returned from injury and replaced Anthony England.
Ash Handley scored the game’s first try, before Johnstone scored a hat-trick inside the first quarter to put Wakefield ahead.
Tom Briscoe pulled one back for the Rhinos before Kyle Wood crossed for Trinity on the half hour mark to hand his side a 22-10 advantage at half-time.
The away side came out firing at Headingley in the second half. Jacob Miller and Danny Brough scored tries to extend Wakefield’s lead, with the latter also adding a drop-goal.
Leeds forward Trent Merrin was sin-binned with ten minutes to go for dissent.
Handley and Briscoe went over late on for the hosts, but they would prove only to be consolation tries as Trinity ran-out 35-18 winners.
Three talking points
Johnstone makes it look easy
The England international made the headlines last week due to his incredible ability to finish a try, and he will gain the plaudits again this week.
His second effort was the try of the night. He somehow managed to get the ball down, despite Briscoe throwing his body at him. Johnstone is just a joy to watch.
It would be rude not to give any praise to Johnstone’s centre partner, Bill Tupou. The Tonga international bulldozes his way through the opposition, before releasing that final pass to Johnstone who finishes the moves. They are a brilliant partnership.
Brough the ultimate general
The former Scotland captain has been sin-binned twice already this season, but his discipline was much better against Leeds and he guided his side around the park perfectly.
We have seen this type of performance from Brough so many times now over the years. His kicking controlled the game, his talk controlled his team and his combinations with Jacob Miller clicked.
Brough certainly seems to be enjoying life back at Wakefield. Him and full-back Ryan Hampshire linked up well, and there are only positives to take for Trinity.
Redevelopment on and off the field at Leeds
It was a homecoming for the Rhinos, who had not played a competitive game at their Headingley home ground since last year.
They attracted a good crowd of over 13,000 but their performance didn’t match the event. They were very poor in defence and late tries from Handley and Briscoe actually flattered them because Wakefield completely dominated the game.
The Rhinos have lost four out of five games under new coach Furner and there is still redevelopment on and off the field to be done at Leeds. They need combinations to click, and fast.
Line-ups & ratings
Leeds: Lolohea (6); Briscoe (6), Watkins (5), Hurrell (6), Handley (7); Smith (5), Myler (6); Peteru (6), Dwyer (6), Merrin (6), Ferres (6), Sutcliffe (5), Cuthbertson (7). Subs: Parcell (5), Donaldson (5), Singleton (5), Oledzki (6).
Tries: Handley (2), Briscoe (2) Goals: Lolohea 1/4
Wakefield: Hampshire (7); Jones-Bishop (7), Lyne (7), Tupou (9), Johnstone (9); Miller (8), Brough (9); Fifita (7), Wood (8), King (7), Batchelor (7), Ashurst (6), Arona (8). Subs: Horo (7), Pauli (7), Kopczak (8), Hirst (7).
Tries: Johnstone (3), Wood, Miller, Brough Goals: Brough 5/7 Drop Goals: Brough 1
Wow. Wakefield can play, can’t they? Leeds simply couldn’t cope with Trinity’s ferocious attack, especially in the second half.
Brough and Miller were impressive and gave their opposite numbers a lesson they won’t be forgetting anytime soon. Trinity’s left edge of Johnstone and Tupou is world class, too.
As for Leeds, it will take time. They showed glimpses of what they can do in attack and are decent when they throw the ball around, but they really need to fix up their defence. Their attitude was poor when defending on their own line and at times, it seems like they just couldn’t be bothered.
Elsewhere in Super League
Castleford Tigers eased past Hull Kingston Rovers 32-16 at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Greg Eden bagged a brace, while Jordan Rankin, Liam Watts, James Clare and Chris Clarkson also crossed for the Tigers.