March tramples Rhinos underfoot

Leeds 28 Wakefield 44
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The Independent Online

Unpredictable Wakefield reminded Leeds what losing feels like with an extraordinary display at Headingley last night.

Unpredictable Wakefield reminded Leeds what losing feels like with an extraordinary display at Headingley last night.

Trinity, so brilliant when they are good, and awful on their bad days, demolished a series of proud Rhinos' records. It was Leeds' first defeat in any game since October, their first in the regular season since last June and their first at home in the competition since August 2003.

It was no fluke. Inspired by the midfield trio of Jamie Rooney, Ben Jeffries and David March, the Wildcats stretched Leeds all over the pitch and never looked like being caught.

Early in the first half Steve Snitch caught the Rhinos dozing from a play-the-ball to dive over and then, after the Wildcats had soaked up incessant Leeds pressure, they scored again.

March made the break and David Wrench arrived in support to send Jason Demetriou clear with an overhead pass.

Wakefield continued to throw the ball around as they can when the mood is upon them, with Demetriou sending Colum Halpenny over in the corner.

By half-time, Wakefield were further ahead as March burrowed over from dummy-half.

It got worse for Leeds' incredulous fans when March scored a second try four minutes into the second half.

A Leeds fight back seemed to have begun when Gareth Ellis got over, but after Sinfield failed to find touch, Wakefield slapped them back down with Semi Cadulala's try from Jeffries' pinpoint kick. Just after the hour, the mesmerising Jeffries sent Darrell Griffin over.

Leeds tried to stage an incredible late escape with tries from Liam Botham and Senior, but Demetriou's late try put the game beyond them.

Leeds: Mathers; Calderwood, Walker, Senior, Bai; Sinfield, Burrow; Bailey, Poaching, McDonald, Botham, McKenna, Ellis. Substitutes used: McDermott, McGuire, Spruton, Smith.

Wakefield: Field; Halpenny, Demetriou, Houles, Cadulala; Rooney, Jeffries; Griffin, March, Korkidas, Solomona, Elima, Applegarth. Substitutes used: Snitch, Wrench, Feather, Kirk.

Referee: I Smith (Oldham).

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