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Friday 26th July 2013, 20:00 - Round:8
|Paul Aiton 2, Justin Poore, Frankie Mariano,||T||James Duckworth, Ben Jones-Bishop, Joel Moon, Carl Ablett, Rob Burrow,|
Lee Smith 4,
Kevin Sinfield 5,
Attendance: 10,031 Official: B Thaler Venue: The Rapid Solicitors Stadium
Kevin Sinfield marked his comeback from injury with an all-important drop goal as Leeds Rhinos edged out derby rivals Wakefield Trinity Wildcats for the second successive week.
A week after the Super League champions squeezed out a 20-18 victory at Headingley, it was just as close at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium, where Rob Burrow's try in the last move of the match earned his side a flattering margin of victory.
Up to then, the only thing separating the two evenly matched teams was the 65th-minute one-pointer from the England captain, who made his return from a six-week absence with a thumb injury by playing at hooker.
Leeds' other standouts were 18-year-old winger James Duckworth with a try on an impressive debut and a 95-metre touchdown from Ben Jones-Bishop, who made an effective switch to full-back, with Zak Hardaker moving to centre in the absence of the injured Kallum Watkins.
The Wildcats suffered a blow when their in-form captain Danny Kirmond pulled out just before kick-off after failing to recover from a knee injury sustained in last Friday's defeat at Headingley but they made light of his absence.
They struck first when lively hooker Paul Aiton scooped up the ball after it had come loose from a Justin Poore carry close to the Leeds line and proved unstoppable from 10 metres out to score the first of his two tries.
Lee Smith added the conversion to make it 6-0 but missed a chance to extent his side's lead when he was wide with a penalty.
Sinfield's kicking looked distinctly rusty but Leeds had their chances.
Second rower Carl Ablett crossed the home tryline only to be pulled back for an obstruction and prop Kylie Leuluai was held on his back by full-back Richard Mathers.
The Wildcats defence finally cracked seven minutes before half-time when Duckworth took a long pass from fellow teenager Liam Sutcliffe to fly over for a try and Sinfield's goal levelled the scores.
Wakefield made the better start to the second half and regained the lead within five minutes when former Leeds favourites Ali Lauitiiti and Lee Smith kept the ball alive and scrum-half Tim Smith provided the link to get Aiton over for his second try.
Lee Smith's goal made it 12-6 and handling errors by Ablett and Joel Moon enabled Wakefield to maintain the pressure on the visitors in the early part of the second half.
The champions were wobbling at that stage and it took Jones-Bishop's brilliant individual effort on 57 minutes to turn the game.
The full-back gathered Tim Smith's grubber kick just five metres from his own line and sprinted virtually the full length of the field for a glorious try.
Sinfield brought his side level with the conversion and nudged them in front for the first time on 64 minutes via a drop goal.
When left winger Ryan Hall sent Moon over for Leeds' third try a minute later, the visitors looked to have the game sewn up as Sinfield's touchline goal made it 19-12.
But Wakefield stung the champions with two tries in three minutes, pinpoint passes from Tim Smith and then Mathers getting prop Justin Poore and second rower Frankie Mariano over the line.
Lee Smith took his goal tally to four from four attempts to make it 25-19; however, the game had one final twist when Sinfield's grubber kick bounced awkwardly in the in-goal area and Ablett dived on the ball.
Sinfield maintained his composure and his accuracy to restore his side's one-point lead and Leeds made sure when Burrow forced his way over from dummy half as the final hooter sounded.