DESPITE a grandstand finish, The Wire began the 2018 Super League season with a defeat to defending champions Leeds Rhinos.

Tom Lineham’s try meant they trailed by four points with just over a minute remaining, but Ryan Hall’s double either side of the break proved the difference at The Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Hall scored tries in quick succession to put Leeds in control before Bryson Goodwin marked his Super League debut with a try to get The Wire on the board.

Wire had made a decent start, pinning Leeds back and creating pressure but the defending champions’ defence held out.

They went up the other end and took the lead when Jones-Buchanan did well to claim Joel Moon’s chip and hold off the Wire defenders to score.

Not content with taking the lead, Leeds went back-to-back with another high kick, this time from ex-Wire Richie Myler, and Hall caught it and spun over the line.

Kallum Watkins then added a penalty from bang in front to take the Rhinos further ahead before Wolves finally got themselves on the scoreboard as the clock ticked towards half time.

Moments after Kevin Brown had somehow been stopped just short of the line, the ball was spun to Goodwin and he came in off the right edge to score.

Wire piled on the pressure at the start of the second half, being held up on or over the line several times, but Leeds hit them with a sucker punch.

Hall spotted a gaping hole between Ben Murdoch-Masila and Matty Russell and scampered through it, leaving the covering defence in his wake after holding off Stefan Ratchford.

It cannot be said that Wire did not have chances, while they were down to 16 players after skipper Chris Hill left the match as his wife went into labour.

It was not until the 79th minute until they took one, and it came from a Leeds error.

Jack Walker spilled Tyrone Roberts’ high kick, and Lineham scooped up and crossed between the posts.

That gave The Wire one last chance to attack, but they could not make it count.

Wolves: Ratchford; Lineham, Goodwin, Atkins, Russell; Brown, Roberts; Hill, Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Murdoch-Masila. Subs: Westwood, G King, Philbin, Patton.

Leeds: Walker; Briscoe, Watkins, Sutcliffe, Hall; Moon, Myler; Cuthbertson, Parcell, Singleton, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Delaney. Subs: Dwyer, Mullally, Peteru, Ormondroyd.