Wakefield Trinity v Leeds Rhinos - recent history suggests Super League derby will be a round one thriller

A thriller is on the cards at Emerald Headingley on Saturday when Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield Trinity square off in Betfred Super League round one.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 4:45 pm

Rhinos have won 40 of the 52 Super League meetings between the sides since Trinity were promoted in 1999.

But of the last 10, Leeds have come out on top in five, Trinity four and there was one draw.

And recent games have tended to be close.

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Rhinos' Rhyse Martin and Dave Fifita, of Trinity, compete for the ball during Leeds' win at Wakefield last year. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

Three of Rhinos’ victories, including the most recent derby on November 1 last year, have been by two points and Trinity won by a similar margin in 2019.

When one team dominates, it is usually Wakefield, who won 30-6 five months ago, by 17 points the last time they faced Leeds at Headingley, in 2019 and recorded a 32-point winning margin two years earlier.

All four of the sides’ off-season signings are included in today’s squads.

Rhinos could give a debut to half-back Kyle Eastmond and forwards Zane Tetevano and King Vuniyayawa, while half-back Mason Lino is set to feature for Trinity.

Kelepi Tanginoa and Tom Johnstone celebrate Trinity's win over Leeds at St Helens last October. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

Seven Rhinos players are unavailable for round one, including five of their first seven squad numbers.

Jack Walker (foot), Harry Newman (broken leg), Konrad Hurrell (calf), Ash Handley (knee) and Rob Lui (quad) will all miss out, along with Tom Holroyd (leg) and Callum McLelland (groin).

Trinity have five senior players unavailable, with Max Jowitt, Kyle Wood, Jay Pitts, Eddie Battye and Ryan Hampshire all missing out.

Joe Arundel could return, 13 months after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Leeds Rhinos: from T Briscoe, Gale, Oledzki, Leeming, Prior, Mellor, Martin, Tetevano, Dwyer, L Sutcliffe, Myler, Smith, Vuniyayawa, Thompson, A Sutcliffe, Walters, L Briscoe, Donaldson, O’Connor, Broadbent, Eastmond.

Wakefield Trinity from: Johnstone, Tupou, Lyne, Kay, Miller, Lino, Fifita, Arona, Ashurst, Tanginoa, Westerman, Batchelor, Green, Senior, Crowther, Arundel, A Walker, Tangata, J Wood, B Walker, Aydin.

Referee: Scott Mikalauskas (Leigh).

Kick-off: Saturday, 3pm at Emerald Headingley.