The Rhinos began with the same starting line-up as against Severn Stars last week, with Rosie Harris back on the bench after sustaining a concussion.
With Dan Ryan having worked with Thunder head coach Karen Greig previously, a competitive fixture was expected.
The first quarter certainly did not disappoint and finished 12-9 in favour of the Rhinos.
In the second quarter, Thunder closed down the middle balls that were feeding into Rhea Dixon. This worked in Manchester’s favour and they led Rhinos 25-20 at half-time.
Rhinos made three changes in the third quarter with Brie Grierson and Vicki Oyseola coming back on at wing attack and goal defence respectively and Tuaine Keenan replacing Paige Kindred at goal keeper.
This provided Rhinos with a huge shift in momentum and allowed them to open up the Thunder defence, bringing the game to 33-33.
A closely-contested fourth quarter proved to be an end-to-end affair, with both teams fighting for the victory.
However, a brilliant game ended 48-41 in favour of the Thunder, with Leeds Rhinos in contention right to the end of the match.
The Rhinos are back on court tomorrow evening against London Pulse.
Leeds Rhinos: Paige Kindred, Vicki Oyesola, Emily Hollingworth, Jade Clarke, Brie Grierson, Rhea Dixon, Sienna Rushton.
Manchester Thunder: Kerry Almond, Rebekah Airey, Laura Malcolm, Caroline O’Hanlon, Alicia Scholes, Eleanor Cardwell, Joyce Mvula.