Lancashire made it an Academy Origin Series whitewash on the White Rose thanks to a superb second-half display at the Be Well Support Stadium in Wakefield Trinity.
Trailing 8-6 at the break against a determined and uncompromising Yorkshire defence, Lancashire hit the hosts with five tries in the second quarter to win the series 3-0.
Both teams had shuffled ranks for the final Academy Origin meeting of the season, following Lancashire’s decisive victory at the AJ Bell Stadium last month. St Helens hooker Ciaran Nolan and Leeds Rhinos stand-off Jack Sinfield entered the Red Rose side, while Yorkshire included Wakefield Trinity’s Oliver Pratt on his pitch and Leeds Rhinos hooker Bailey Aldridge in their attempt to avoid a round of whitewashing.
And Aldridge got on the scoresheet in the second half, with Sully Medworth’s towering touchline conversion reducing the backlog to just four points after Lancashire’s Junior Nsemba and Jack Darbyshire gave the benefit to the Red Rose.
But the respite was only temporary as Lancashire attempted further tries from Jack Douglas, McKenzie Buckley and Jon Vaughan, complete with Sinfield’s imperious kick.
Yet an intensely physical first half gave no indication of what lay ahead. Hull FC outfielder Lewis Martin opened the scoring for Yorkshire in the 25th minute, latching on to a superb, accurate cross kick from Myles Lawford and Yorkshire’s slippery defense shut down several opportunities for Lancashire.
And when Connor Barley took full advantage of a short, perfectly timed pass from fullback Alfie Edgell, it looked like the White Rose might just avoid the dreaded whitewash.
A try from George Delaney and a conversion from Sinfield made it 8-4 for the hosts at half-time, but when Wigan Warriors second row Nsemba capitalized on a Yorkshire error to score and the powerful push of Darbyshire saw him cross down the right, suddenly Lancashire had the bit between their teeth – and an 18-8 lead.
Aldridge’s try and Medworth’s conversion put Yorkshire back in contention, but Lancashire were in no mood to let go. St Helens full-back Ben Lane created a try for Wigan Warriors winger Jacob Douglas in the left corner and then St Helens team-mate McKenzie Buckley stormed into the Yorkshire ranks to give Lancashire full control at 28-14.
The score was completed in style in the 78th minute, with Lane’s superb pass and Jake Thewliss’ vision allowing center Jon Vaughan to score. Sinfield majestically converted wide to put the final nail in Yorkshire’s coffin.
Still, White Rose County will take comfort in the fact that they have rivaled Lancashire for long stretches, defended bravely and offered plenty of attack. Lancashire, as they have been throughout Origin Academy 2022, were simply too strong.
Yorkshire: Alfie Edgell (Leeds Rhinos), Riley Lumb (Leeds Rhinos), Connor Barley (Hull KR), Oliver Pratt (Wakefield Trinity), Lewis Martin (Hull FC), Sully Medforth (Hull FC), Myles Lawford (Bradford Bulls), Jake Higgins (Leeds Rhinos), Bailey Aldridge (Leeds Rhinos), Ellis Hobson (Wigan Warriors), Charlie Severs (Hull FC), Adam Holroyd (Warrington Wolves), Kye Armstrong (Hull FC)
Trades : Alfie Dean (Castleford Tigers), Nick Staveley (Hull FC), Lucas Green (Warrington Wolves), Ben Littlewood (Leeds Rhinos)
Try: Martin (25), Barley (32), Aldridge (55)
Goals: Medworth 1
Lancashire: Ben Lane (St Helens), Jacob Douglas (Wigan Warriors), Jon Vaughan (St Helens), Jack Darbyshire (Warrington Wolves), Jake Thewlis (Warrington Wolves), Jack Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos), Will Roberts (St Helens), Leunbou Bardyell Wells (St Helens), Ciaran Nolan (St Helens), Max Wood (Wigan Warriors), McKenzie Buckley (St Helens), Junior Nsemba (Wigan Warriors), Kalan Devine (St Helens)
Trades: Ben Hartill (Warrington Wolves), George Delaney (St Helens), Harvie Hill (Wigan Warriors), Ellis Archer (St Helens)
Try: Delaney (38), Nsemba (45), Darbyshire (53), Douglas (57), Buckley (66), Vaughan (78)
Goals: Sinfield 5
- Half time: 8-4
- Penalties: 4-5
- Referee: Aaryn Belafonte