Handley scores five as Rhinos tame Wildcats

Leeds Rhinos’ England Academy winger Ash Handley enjoyed an outstanding Boxing Day debut for his club, touching down five times as the Rhinos put Wakefield to the sword at Headingley.

Debutants were strongly in evidence for both sides, as the Rhinos gave a debut to new signing Adam Cuthbertson, who has joined them from Newcastle Knights, while Wakefield fielded Jacob Miller, Craig Hall (both joining from Hull FC), Mickael Simon, Lopini Paea (both from Catalans Dragons), Nathan Ashurst (Salford Red Devils) and Ian Kirke (Leeds Rhinos).

Wakefield opened the scoring with two early tries from Matt Ryan and Jacob Miller, both of them goaled by Craig Hall.

But Leeds hit back when Danny Mcguire put Stevie Ward over, and Liam Sutclifffe converted.

The Wildcats extended their lead to 12 points again, however, when Danny Washbrook scored, with Hall again converting.

But the Rhinos dominated the second 20 minutes, with England Academy winger Handley scoring a fine hat-trick, and McGuire also touching down, with Sutcliffe adding three goals to make it 28-18 at half-time.

And Handley carried on in the second half from where he left off in the first, scoring another two tries in the first 20 minutes of the half, going the length of the field for the second after Danny Washbrook dropped the ball.

Sutcliffe converted his second, and then converted his own try from a McGuire kick to give the Rhinos a 44-18 lead after 64 minutes.

Elliot Minchella added the Rhinos’ ninth try two minutes later, with Sutcliffe’s goal bringing up the half-century.

Wakefield scored two consolation tries in the final five minutes from Matty Ashurst and Pita Godinet, with Hall converting the second to make the final score Leeds 50 Wakefield 28.

A full report and photos will feature in Monday’s edition of Rugby League Express.