Wakefield 12 Leeds 14: Lauitiiti's timely tackle leaves Wildcats wobbling

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The Independent Online

Wakefield's new-found spirit and determination went unrewarded as they lost ground in the battle against relegation from Super League last night and Leeds avoided the ignominy of losing six games in a row for the first time in 48 years.

The Wildcats struggled manfully for the last half-hour of a compelling contest to overturn Leeds' slender lead, but could rue their failure to do so.

Wakefield had the most unnerving of starts, falling victim to the sort of sustained support play that has eluded Leeds in recent weeks after only 46 seconds. Matt Diskin began the surge, Keith Senior and Ali Lauitiiti carried it on and Jordan Tansey was there to complete a spectacular 70-metre try.

The Wildcats responded admirably, getting on the scoreboard through Jamie Rooney's penalty and almost getting a try through Michael Korkidas.

It took them until the 23rd minute to get their noses in front, thanks to some high-quality work by Rooney, who tricked the Leeds defence with a change of pace and fed David March, who went over for a try. Once more Wakefield were showing the fight that John Kear seems to have instilled in them.

Leeds went back ahead but were perhaps fortunate to have the try awarded when Ryan Bailey was stopped on the line and Diskin burrowed his way over, looking surprised himself to be credited with the score by the video referee.

Colum Halpenny came close to an equalising try from a Sam Obst kick and all in all Wakefield could consider themselves unlucky to be behind at half-time.

They survived Leeds pressure at the start of the second period and hit back with an exquisite pass from Solomona to Halpenny. The move seemed to have broken down when Obst was tackled, but Tom Saxton arrived to give the move the try it deserved. Wakefield were level but Sinfield kicked a penalty to edge Leeds in front again.

The tension was reflected in a punch up when Jamie Jones-Buchanan went in hard on Semi Tadulala. Wakefield fought to the end, but their best chance disappeared with Lauitiiti's magnificent cover tackle to put Paul White into touch.

Wakefield: Saxton, Halpenny, Demetriou, Atkins, Tadulala, Rooney, Jeffries, Korkidas, March, Watene, MacGillivray, Henderson, Solomona. Substitutes used: White, Elima, Obst, Griffin

Leeds: Tansey, Donald, Toopi, Senior, Gibson, Sinfield, Burrow, Jones-Buchanan, Diskin, Thackray, Lauitiiti, Peacock, Ellis Substitutes used: Bailey, Poching, Scruton, Kirke.

Referee: P Bentham (Warrington).

* Hull KR, Widnes and Leigh have all been told that they will qualify for Super League if they win National League One this season.

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