Leeds Rhinos’ five greatest comebacks of the Super League era

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 02/08/2020 - Rugby League - Betfred Super League - Huddersfield Giants v Leeds Rhinos - Emerald Headingley Stadium, Leeds, England - Leeds's Luke Gale kicks the game-winning drop goal during the Golden Point against Huddersfield.

I think most Leeds Rhinos fans are riding high still after Saturday.

The Rhinos battled back from 30-6 behind against Catalans whilst a man down to win in golden point to give their play-off hopes a massive boost.

But where does that win rank amongst Leeds’ greatest ever Super League comebacks.

5. Wakefield Trinity 30-32 Leeds Rhinos 2009

This is a personal favourite of mine. The Rhinos trailed 30-16 late in the second half before an Ali Lauitiiti gave Leeds hope in the 65th minute just as Eddie Hemmings of Sky Sports wrote the Champions off though he seemed vindicated when the game ticked into its 77th minute and Leeds still trailed by eight points. Then Rob Burrow did what he did best to zoom to the try line and Leeds had one set to win the match.

Que the hail Mary play after a brilliant 20 metre drive by Jamie Peacock. Danny McGuire grubber kicked through for Carl Ablett, he found Brent Webb who gave it back to McGuire who slipped. But he crucially didn’t panic giving the ball to Scott Donald to score.

4. Sheffield Eagles 23-24 Leeds Rhinos 1998

This is widely considered Leeds’ best Super League comeback though it doesn’t make the top three of this list. A season in which Leeds truly stamped their mark on Super League after two lukewarm campaigns in the competition’s inaugural seasons, on their road to Old Trafford Graham Murray’s men showed they had the character to push for honours as they battled back against Sheffield Eagles.

The tries came from Paul Sterling who grabbed a brace, Francis Cummins and Graham Holroyd as Iestyn Harris vitally kicked four from four with the boot which eventually proved the difference against the Challenge Cup holders.

3. Huddersfield Giants 26-27 Leeds Rhinos 2020

Leeds had impressed at the start of the 2020 campaign as had Huddersfield. So, when the two teams met after lockdown the winner was set to take top spot. Though it looked like being Huddersfield for much of the game as the Rhinos fell behind 26-6 despite a Konrad Hurrell try. Making matters worse, Ash Handley was sin binned leaving Leeds a man down for 10 of the remaining 13 minutes.

Luke Gale then dummied over for what appeared to be a consolation try before Leeds immediately broke down field from the kick-off with Harry Newman showing great pace. Leeds then went back right where Luke Briscoe produced a superb finish to give Leeds real hope. Alex Mellor then powered over against his former club before Hurrell forced his way over. Rhyse Martin’s conversion sent the game to golden point where a Luke Gale drop goal completed a dramatic turn around as Leeds won taking top spot despite trailing by 20 with 13 minutes to go.

2. Leeds Rhinos 30-20 St Helens 2003

Another season in which Leeds finished second, there were plenty of people doubting the young Rhinos’ title credentials as the season ticked into September and those doubts were in overdrive when Leeds found themselves 20-0 down against the reigning Champions.

But 24 points in 11 minutes turned things around in amazing fashion. Burrow sparked the Rhinos revival with a try under the posts before hope was solidified when Mark Calderwood crossed in the corner. Former Saint Gary Connolly then darted over from acting half to truly make the Saints sweat. The winner then came the way of Connolly’s heir at fullback in the shape of a fresh faced Richie Mathers. Remarkably, Leeds didn’t stop scoring either as Willie Poching wrapped up a famous win for the Rhinos and with it second in the league.

1. Catalans Dragons 32-36 Leeds Rhinos 2022

Was there any doubt? Well there was plenty of doubt that Leeds would take the two points home when they trailed 30-6 with 24 minutes to go especially when Matt Prior was sent off. But instantly Cameron Smith carved open the Catalans defence. He surged through fending off Sam Tomkins before offloading to Richie Myler.

Myler would double his money when he took an Aidan Sezer chip kick to score a second. That had created enough fear in the Catalans team for them to notch a penalty to make it 32-18 but the Rhinos kept coming as Myler scored from a James Bentley offload. Then Brad Dwyer conjured up a moment of brilliance as he regathered his own kick and it was 32-30. Rhyse Martin would then complete the comeback with penalty sending the game to golden point.

Defeat in golden point would have ruined all of Leeds’ hard work so when Aidan Sezer dummied and darted through to score and win the game it ensured the Rhinos’ comeback was regarded as one of the finest in Super League history.

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