Leeds won a great and an important match in their Boxing Day challenge match which has now become an annual event – they thumped Wakefield twenty-six to ten at Headingley.
The Super League champions had a good mixture of promising youngsters and seasoned players in the line up which ensured that the festive crowd at the stadium was thoroughly entertained.
Rob Burrow served as the acting captain of Leeds whilst the Wildcats had twelve brand new faces in the line up which included Andy Ellis who was the former Harlequins hooker. It was no wonder that Leeds started as favourites for the match, according to the latest Rugby betting odds.
They warmed up for their upcoming title defence match by running in five spectacular tries. Isaac John also then added to the conversion. But the Rhinos who are now famous for slow starts eventually caught up.
Lee Smith kicked in a total of two goals, the first of which helped the team to draw level. The champions seized control of the match with two more tries just before the half time whustle.
Hooker Liam Hood made the defence of the visitors look shabby and weak after making it sixteen points to six. The introduction of Kyle Wood and Kyle Amor did help in trying for a much needed comeback for the Wildcats and they did pull a try back with the help of Dean Collins, the Australian centre, on fifty one minutes.
But all hopes of an exceptional comeback went down the drain when the brilliant Hauraki got Watkins in a good gap and Burrow who was in support claimed a well deserved try.
Zak Hardaker also scored for Leeds just before the final whistle, supporting a nice break by the brilliant winger Chisholm in order to touch down. Burrow then rounded the scoring with the conversion.
This victory was a much needed for one for the Leeds, who will struggle when the internationals start – they will particularly miss two of their players who are in England’s team, who have the shortest Six Nations Betting Odds.