Wakefield’s Australian prop Justin Poore made an unforgettable first appearance on British soil when he was sent off against Super League champions Leeds Rhinos for sparking a Boxing Day brawl.
The 27-year-old former Parramatta forward was given his marching orders by referee Jamie Leahy after clashing with Leeds prop Ryan Bailey just 20 minutes into the festive challenge match at Headingley.
Bailey was sin-binned for his part in the fracas, along with team-mate Mitch Achurch, who was also making his first appearance in British rugby league, and Wakefield winger Ben Cockayne. Leeds hooker Paul McShane, making his return from a loan spell with Widnes, became the fourth player to be shown a yellow card when he was sin-binned on 57 minutes for a high tackle.
Wakefield, fielding a near full-strength team, were never able to overcome their numerical disadvantage as they went down to a makeshift Leeds outfit in front of a crowd of 9,347.
Star of the show was acting captain Danny McGuire, one of three members of the Rhinos’ Grand Final-winning team, while new faces Joe Vickery and Joel Moon also caught the eye on Leeds’s new £1m pitch.
Vickery, a 23-year-old Australian triallist, boosted his chances of securing a contract by scoring two well-taken tries in the first 22 minutes, while Moon was named the Rhinos’ man of the match.
It was from McGuire’s perfectly-judged grubber kick that Vickery opened the scoring on five minutes, although Wakefield hit the champions with two well-executed tries in three minutes from captain Danny Kirmond and new signing Reece Lyne to take a 12-6 lead.
A superb one-handed pass from ex-Salford centre Moon gave the impressive Vickery the chance to jink his way over for his second try and delicate footwork from McShane created the first of two touchdowns for prop Brad Singleton. McShane’s second conversion made it 16-12 but Cockayne brought the scores level on the stroke of half-time when he took Lyne’s pass to score the visitors’ third try.
Leeds edged back in front four minutes into the second half when McGuire’s long pass got winger Jimmy Watson over for their fourth try and the England half-back took complete control to create further tries for Jamel Chisholm, Alex Foster and Moon.
Centre Dean Collis and former Leeds full-back Richard Mathers added further tries for the Wildcats and Paul Sykes kicked a third goal but Leeds had the final say when Singleton went over, McShane kicking his fourth goal.
Leeds Rhinos: Watson, Chisholm, Keinhorst, Moon, Vickery, McGuire, McShane, Singleton, Hood, Bailey, Achurch, Kirke, Briscoe. Substitutes: Foster, Sutcliffe, Baldwinson, Duckworth, Tonks, White.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Mathers, Fox, Collis, Lyne, Cockayne, Sykes, T Smith, Poore, Aiton, Trout, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Washbrook. Substitutes: Wildie, Cowling, Walshaw, Slater, Healy, Goulding.
Referee: J Leahy (Dewsbury).