Yesterday, Rohan Smith’s Leeds Rhinos side masterminded one of the all-time great Super League comebacks against Catalans Dragons despite being a man down.
But where does it rank amongst the best in Super League history?
That’s the question we’re answering today with the 10 best comebacks in Super League history.
10. Hull KR 36-42 Wigan 2012
Going into the penultimate game of the season, Wigan just needed a win to secure their second League Leaders’ Shield in three years. However, tries from Craig Hall, Lincoln Withers, Ben Galea and Jake Webster remarkably fired Hull KR 26-0 up. A pair of Wigan tries just before the break dented that advantage but soon after Rovers led 32-12. But, seeing the trophy slip through their fingers, the Warriors roared back into the contest scoring six tries to one in the latter stages of the contest to seal the silverware.
9. Halifax 26-30 Bradford 1997
These were the days when the destination of the Super League trophy was decided by the league alone so every win was vital. But in a Yorkshire derby against Halifax, the win appeared to be alluding table-topping Bradford as they found themselves 26-6 down. Nonetheless, this Bradford team was a champion side with a champion mentality. They would propel themselves back into the game at 26-22. A series of try-saving tackles looked like they’d saved the home team but scores from Jonathan Scales and Paul Loughlin sealed the win for the Bulls as they continued their surge to the Super League crown.
8. Leeds 30-20 St Helens 2003
A young and upcoming Rhinos side sat second in the league towards the end of 2003. They appeared to be the biggest threat to Bradford at the top of the table. But it looked like their season could be unravelling when they found themselves 20-0 down. Then the Rhinos suddenly woke up and scored 24 points in 11 minutes to take the lead with Richie Mathers scoring the vital try. In the dying minutes, Willie Poching sealed a remarkable 30-20 win for Leeds.
7. Hull FC 27-26 St Helens 2010
So often we’re praising St Helens’ never say die attitude, but on this occasion Hull did to them what they so often do to others. Despite heading in front thanks to a Tom Briscoe try, Hull found themselves 26-6 down. It looked like the game was over but a burst of 21 unanswered points including tries from Jordan Turner, Danny Houghton, Willie Manu and Danny Tickle won the game for the Black and Whites.
6. Wakefield 30-32 Leeds 2009
It was set to be a memorable day in Wakefield’s history. They had cruised 30-16 in front and, despite an Ali Lauitiiti try, had an 8-point lead with less than 3 minutes remaining. Their first Super League home victory against Leeds looked certain. But a scampering Rob Burrow try in the 78th minute gave Leeds a glimmer of hope. With one set left to play and needing one try, the Rhinos dribbled the ball behind the Wakefield defence before shifting it wide to Danny McGuire who, despite slipping, put Scott Donald in at the corner to snatch an unlikely win and break Wakefield hearts.
5. St Helens 32-34 Catalans 2012
For 45 minutes St Helens were utterly dominant against the Dragons and led 26-8. Catalans started the comeback with three tries from Damian Blanch, Vincent Duport and Scott Dureau but all hope seemed lost when Gary Wheeler scored his second for the Saints. A Setaimata Sa try gave Catalans late hope before they produced their very own Wide to West moment in St Helens’ back yard. They kept the ball alive moving it from right to left and back again. Daryl Millard finished the move levelling the scores and Dureau’s touchline conversion won the game for the French side.
4. Huddersfield 26-27 Leeds 2020
As Super League made its comeback after lockdown, Leeds produced a sensational comeback of their own. At an empty Emerald Headingley Stadium for what was classed as Huddersfield’s home game, the Rhinos have never looked more at home than in the final 13 minutes of this contest. Despite having a man in the sin bin, Leeds scored 20 points and four tries to level the scores and send the game to golden point. In extra time, skipper Luke Gale nailed the drop goal to send Leeds top of the table and bring Super League back with a bang.
3. St Helens 30-31 Catalans Dragons 2021
Going into their match at the Magic Weekend, Catalans knew that victory over second place Saints would secure the League Leaders’ Shield, but with five minutes left they found themselves trailing 30-12 and their first League Leaders’ Shield looked in jeopardy whilst St Helens’ hopes of the treble were being revived. But three tries in the final five minutes miraculously turned things on its head. Dean Whare, Gil Dudson and Sam Kasiano all scored as Catalans sped things up and stretched the Champions with Kasiano then picking out a crossfield kick to score besides the points. Then in extra time James Maloney nailed a mammoth drop goal to win the game and the League Leaders’ Shield.
2. Bradford 30-31 Wigan 2007
Still one of the biggest deficits we’ve seen over turned in Super League history, this play-off encounter had to top our list. Bradford were cruising to the next week of the play-offs when they led 30-6. But, inspired by a Mark Calderwood hat-trick, Wigan battled back with 24 unanswered points to level the game. 24 soon became 25 as Pat Richards coolly slotted a drop goal to give Wigan a late lead. The Warriors would then hold on as Bradford squandered their chances to get back into the game. It was the first step on a remarkable journey that took the 6th placed Warriors to within 80 minutes of the Grand Final. Sadly, eventual champions Leeds ended their run in the Grand Final Eliminator.
1. Catalans Dragons 32-36 Leeds Rhinos 2022
This was cinema script stuff. Having already been yellow carded earlier in the game, in the 56th minute Matt Prior was sent off for a high tackle as Leeds trailed 30-6. However, that seemed to spark the Rhinos into life. Cameron Smith soon burst through the centre of the Dragons’ defence before teeing up Richie Myler and Myler would soon get a hat-trick scoring next from an Aidan Sezer kick before capitalising on a James Bentley offload. His second and third tries came either side of a Sam Tomkins penalty so at 32-24 a win still looked unlikely. However, a solo try from Brad Dwyer gave Leeds hope before Rhyse Martin’s penalty levelled matters sending the game to golden point. Then in extra time having already missed a drop goal attempt, Sezer this time elected to run after a burst and offload from Brad Dwyer who found Zak Hardaker who fed the ball to his halfback. Sezer showed the dummy opening up the defence and winning the game.