1 Mar 2019

Wakefield stun Leeds

Leeds Rhinos 18-35 Wakefield Trinity

Wakefield Trinity winger Tom Johnstone ruined Leeds Rhinos’ homecoming with a 12-minute hat-trick of tries in a 35-18 victory at a new-look Headingley.

The Rhinos opted to start their Betfred Super League campaign with four away matches to enable the £45million redevelopment work to continue and had high hopes of improving their fortunes on their eagerly-awaited return.

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— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) March 1, 2019

They had the encouragement of an early try from winger Ash Handley but the game turned on the tryscoring heroics of Johnstone, who made his England debut last October and must be a candidate for the Lions tour on the evidence of his performance.

His first-half treble enabled Trinity to establish a 22-10 interval lead which was more than enough for the visitors to consolidate, thanks largely to the game management of veteran half-back Danny Brough, who finished with 15 points from a try, five goals and a drop goal.

Wakefield coach Chris Chester said: “We’ve been building something the last two or three weeks and tonight was pretty special.

“It was important we put in a good performance because Leeds are a good side and it’s always a tough place to come.

“Certainly after the first 10 minutes I was scratching my head and thinking we were in for a long night, but we slowly got ourselves back into the game and I thought we were really dominant from minute 10."

Leeds coach Dave Furner said: “You’ve got to adapt and be more resilient when there are late changes. We lacked resilience on our try-line, particularly in the first half. That caused us some system breakdowns.

“We reassessed at half-time and three or four times they were on our line and we actually stopped them. We had opportunities to get back into the game but we conceded too many points in the first half.

“At times we were good with the ball but there are two parts to this game. We’ve got to be better with our discipline but we keep learning.”