Leeds Rhinos won an enjoyable clash against Wakefield Trinity at Headingley today, defeating their Yorkshire rivals 34-6 in the only one of the three games that had been scheduled for Boxing Day that actually went ahead.
With new signings Aidan Sezer, Blake Austin and James Bentley all in the starting lineup, a crowd of just under 10,000 were eager to see whether the new boys would combine effectively for a successful campaign in 2022, although it was two established Leeds stars, Ash Handley and Harry Newman, who stole the headlines with two tries each.
Trinity, fielding several players who have yet to make their Super League debuts, including Kobe Poching, the son of their coach, opened enthusiastically and took the lead through winger Lewis Murphy, who was on hand to pick up a Kruise Leeming pass that went to ground for a try in the left corner, which was expertly goaled from touch by Brad Walker.
Leeds quickly replied, however, when Sezer proved too strong for the Wakefield defence near their own line, while man of the match Richie Myler then created a try on the left for captain Handley for a try that Sezer couldn’t convert.
The Rhinos suffered a blow when James Donaldson was sinbinned for a late tackle just before half-time, with the Rhinos going into the sheds 10-6 up.
After the break, Handley scored his second try, also created by Myler, before Newman was the next to get on the scoreboard, with Sezer adding both conversions.
With 15 remaining, Jack Sinfield, the son of Kevin, entered the field to replace Sezer and to take over the role of goalkicker, while having a key role in the Rhinos’ next try when he combined with Myler to put Tom Briscoe over the line before adding the goal.
Newman then scored his second try with four minutes remaining and Sinfield’s conversion completed the scoring at 34-6.
Rhinos: Richie Myler; Jack Broadbent, Harry Newman, Tom Briscoe, Ash Handley (C); Blake Austin, Aidan Sezer; Mikolaj Oledzki, Kruise Leeming; Zane Tetevano; Alex Mellor, James Bentley, Cameron Smith; Subs: Brad Dwyer, James Donaldson, Morgan Gannon, Bodene Thompson, Jack Sinfield, Jarrod O’Connor, Liam Tindall
Tries: Sezer (15), Handley (19, 42), Newman (54, 76), Briscoe (65)
Goals: Sezer 3/4
Sinbins: Donaldson (38 – late tackle)
Trinity: Robbie Butterworth; Lewis Murphy, Thomas Minns, Corey Hall, John Davetanivalu; Brad Walker, Lee Gaskell; Yusuf Aydin, Harry Bowes, Tinirau Arona; Matty Ashurst, Kelepi Tanginoa, Jordan Crowther (C); Subs: Charlie Abraham, David Fifita, Oliver Farrar, Kobe Poching, Liam Hood
Tries: Murphy (10)
Goals: Walker 1/1