Wakefield Wildcats beat Leeds Rhinos 14-6 in the Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge match at Headingley on Boxing Day.
Anthony England and Scott Anderson scored the visitors’ tries while Carl Ablett crossed for the hosts in greasy conditions in West Yorkshire.
Leeds’ new hooker Beau Falloon was twice knocked out during the game but head coach Brian McDermott said there were no major injuries after the match.
Wakefield head coach Brian Smith was impressed with his side’s performance against the treble winners: “I was very pleased with the way the guys went about the game,” he told the Wildcats’ website. “It was a tough day. Leeds had a lot of good players out there and we kept them to one try, we did a fair few things right today and I feel it is a real confidence boosting performance from us today.”
Last season’s Million Pound Match winners took the lead through England’s try under the posts after the big prop collected an offload from new signing Tinirau Arona to score from close range.
Former Rhino Jordan Tansey added a penalty before Anderson’s try extended the visitors’ lead to 14-0. Danny McGuire and Ash Golding failed to deal with a Jacob Miller grubber kick into the in-goal area and the big forward was the first to react.
A Tom Briscoe offload was collected by Rob Burrow who found Abblett out on the right to put Leeds’ first points of the game on the board in the final quarter of an hour of the game, but the Wildcats held on to clinch victory.
Rhinos head coach McDermott told his club’s website that he was impressed by some of his younger players’ performances: “Jordan Lilley again impressed, Ashton Golding was very, very good and fielded some very difficult balls and came in for a lot of traffic coming his way.”
Leeds’ next friendly match is away to Hunslet Hawks on January 8th while the Wildcats travel to Featherstone on January 10th.