Wakefield Trinity’s first pre-season game ended in disappointment as Leeds Rhinos ran in four second-half tries to condemn Trinity to a 30-4 defeat in the annual Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge. (Report by Will Moore).
Lee Kershaw’s sole try on 43 minutes gave Trinity a lifeline after two tries in the opening thirty minutes put Leeds in the ascendancy. Nonetheless, the Rhinos managed to rack up four unanswered second-half tries to put the game out of sight.
There was just one change to Chris Chester’s initial 19-man squad, with Connor Bailey coming into replace the experienced Danny Kirmond late on.
As Leeds applied the pressure early on, full-back, Alex Walker, came to the rescue on a few occasions to keep the home side at bay.
Unfortunately for Trinity, their defensive hold over the hosts came to end on the 20-minute mark, as Leeds made the breakthrough. Cameron Smith proved too strong and powerful for the defence and the forward wrestled his way over the try line.
Wakefield continued to strive to make their solid defensive work count. That was until the 30th-minute when Konrad Hurrell touched down in the corner to give the hosts a two-score lead.
As we saw the first period come to a close, Trinity pressed for that elusive route back into the contest. With just minutes remaining, it nearly came as Kershaw found some space on the left, only for the young winger to be hounded by the Rhinos defence.
After an underwhelming first-half, Trinity started the second-half in much better fashion. Kershaw went over on the left to score a well worked try after a great pass by Max Jowitt.
But when the Trinity try-scorer was sent to the bin for a professional foul, Wakefield’s job got that little bit harder.
And it didn’t take long for the hosts to make that man advantage count, as two tries in two minutes put the Rhinos in command. First, Alex Sutcliffe danced through, before Harry Newman ran over unchallenged.
When Stevie Ward and Brad Dwyer both touched down under the posts, the game looked out of reach for Trinity, who were condemned to their first defeat of pre-season.
Chris Chester waits for news on George King, who was forced to leave the field on a stretcher early in the second-half.