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The Kallum Watkins Show
Posted by southstander on March 28 2011 - 08:21:43

Four Tries
By Inflatable_Armadillo

Due to other committments I wasn't sure I'd make todays game so I asked for volunteers and I am very grateful that Inflatable_Armadillo stepped up to the plate.

This is his first match report, and a mighty fine effort he has made of it too.

We bring you all of the action here......






Superleague XVI - Round 7

27th March 2011

The Kallum Watkins Show

A welcome blue Sunday afternoon sky shone brightly over the Wildcats Rapid Solicitors Stadium for the visit of the Rhinos. The good weather brought their biggest crowd of the season so far, boosted by a large travelling contingent of Rhinos supporters, who hoped for a much improved performance on last week to avoid a ‘blue Monday’ morning!

The Rhinos welcomed back Leuluai and Bailey to the side, and the starting line up in the front row, and with Cross, Burgess and Pitts all on the bench could the big-lads lay the platform for a big bounce back win or, could the Wildcats mix of youth and experience see them take another scalp to go with last week’s shock win at the KC!

On my first ever match report for I was determined to avoid any clichés but I can’t help myself from describing this match as, very much, a game of two halves! It was the Wildcats who took control early on and dominated a hard but generally unspectacular first half, with the exception of one piece of brilliance and only score of the half.

Late Try
The Wildcats had the first opportunity for 2 points when Webb went high on Korkidas directly in front of the sticks 20m out. However, much to the surprise of both sets of supporters, they opted to run the ball! To be fair, they were good value for the decision and worked hard to try and turn a certain 2 points into 4 and were only denied by a good defensive stint by the Rhinos. A Jeffries kick to the corner at the end of the set saw Leeds scramble well and take the ball over the dead ball line and then drop out to the Wildcats for another six. Once again, Wakefield threatened the Rhinos line and a neat grubber kick from Rinadli into the in-goal area was almost latched onto by a well-timed run by Mariano, but Burrow read the danger and batted the ball over the line.

Another set of six for Wakefield followed the drop-out, but once again the Rhinos worked hard in defence and Jeffries put in another cross field kick to the corner, which was taken well by Hall just in front of the line, but good work from the Wildcats chasers saw him trapped in goal to force a fourth set in a row. A poor off-load from Morrison saw Leeds finally regain possession and control, after great pressure but equally outstanding defence from the Rhinos.

Wakefield continued to dominate possession however, and a quick play the ball by Rinaldi on 12 minutes catches Leeds offside and they advance up-field. From the resulting set Jeffries once again kicks to the corner on the last and, although it is well taken by Johnson on the full, he is tackled short by some excellent Leeds cover deference.

The sides continue to trade possession and field position and Leeds have to wait until the 23rd minute before having a real sniff of the Wakefield line, but a pass out wide to Hall is called back for a forward by referee Child with the line begging. Some sloppy Leeds passing sees Wakefield intercept the ball on the bounce and Leeds give away a penalty for holding down Jeffries in the subsequent tackle. Another well defended set by Leeds sees Jefferies this time opt to kick towards Watkins wing, but he is equal to the task and takes the ball on the full in-goal, but Leeds gain some extra yards from a penalty, as Child deems that the Wakefield chasers were off-side at the kick.

On 28 minutes Morrison makes a break up the middle and, at first, it looks like he hangs on to possession too long, seemingly ignoring passing options on both sides. However, he manages to off-load from the tackle back inside and the Wildcats move the ball quickly to the right wing and, from a long but suspiciously forward looking pass, Johnson juggles and then regains possession at full-stretch in a dive, just before the ball hits the deck, to score a spectacular try in the corner. Griffin misses the extras and the Wildcats take a 4 -0 lead.

Leeds, on a rare foray into the Wildcats half, lose possession as Cross knocks-on from a pass, but Burgess interferes as Wakefield try to play the ball quickly, and he sees yellow and sits out the next 10 minutes.

With Leeds down to 12 men Wakefield continue to pile on the pressure and another excellent attacking kick from Jefferies, this time to the left wing of George, sees him squander a certain try as he is unable to gather the ball just inches short of the line. Some good long kicks from Wakefield pin Leeds back for the remainder of the half and they go in at half time having dominated the half but, a much improved defensive display from Leeds, sees them going in only 4 – 0 up.

We all hoped that the boys could turn excellent defence into attack as they started the second half and we did not have to wait long for the first Leeds score of the match. A high tackle on Hauraki on 45 minutes sees Leeds opt to run the ball and with some quick passing the ball is moved out wide by Sinfield to Ablett and then a great pass out to Watkins see him go over for his first in the corner. Little did we know that this half was destined to turn into the Kallum Watkins show! Sinfield misses from the touch-line and the scores are level at 4 – 4.

On 47 minutes Leeds are caught off-side in front of the Wakefield posts and this time Griffin opts to take an easy 2 points to edge Wakefield in front at 6 – 4.

Despite the early try, Leeds struggle to settle and some poor handling and a forward pass sees Wakefield applying pressure to the Leeds line. Leeds line holds firm and Jefferies again kicks high to the corner, but Hall takes the ball on the full and once again, Wakefield are called off-side by Child. As Leeds push towards the Wakefield line JJB is pinged, very harshly, for playing the ball when, according to Child, the tackle was not complete! This is in stark contrast to his only other appearance in the middle this season, in Cardiff, in which it seemed the only way to avoid being penalised was to play the ball before the tackle was complete!

Hot and Cold

Wakefield fail to take the opportunity to clear their line with the penalty, as the kick fails to reach touch, thanks to some quick thinking by Hall to keep the ball in play. This was the turning point of the game and from this point on, Leeds dominated as the Wildcats started to visibly tire.

On 56 minutes McShane has plenty of time, on the last of the resultant set, to put in a wonderfully timed kick to Watkins on the right wing, who takes the ball to go over out wide, but he is able to side step the Wakefield cover to put the ball down under the sticks. Sinfield takes the easier extras to make it 6 -10.

The Rhinos can smell Wildcats blood and straight from the kick-off Hall is put away down the wing, he finds Webb on his inside who takes the ball well into the Wakefield half, but he is prevented from getting the ball away to the supporting Burrow by the Wakefield cover. Leeds get a penalty for a Wakefield off-side and take a quick tap. Sinfield then comes close and is pushed back over the line and, as he off-loads; Leuluai is just able to re-gather the loose ball. The Rhinos once again move the ball out wide quickly and the Wakefield defence is unable to prevent Watkins going over in the corner for his hat-trick. Sinfield is unable to convert from the touch-line (he is not having a great start to the season, by his own high standards, with the boot) and the score stays at 6 – 14.

Wakefield really look to be tiring with 10 minutes to go and they are penalised for a ball steal on Watkins and then caught off-side on their 20m line just to the left of the sticks. Sinfield pops over the kick for another 2 points to take the score to 6 – 16.

The Rhinos find themselves once again on the Wildcats 20m line, thanks to another penalty, and Cross goes close, but his held back. Some deft handling sees the skipper take on the line out on the right as the ball is switched back in from the wing and, with a sublime inside reverse pass around his back, puts Buderus in under the sticks. The extras are no problem to captain fantastic and the score is now 6 – 22.

As Leeds field the kick off with just a couple of minutes remaining, they move the ball down the middle and some quick flowing passing sees them well into the Wildcats half on the last. The Rhinos put in a cross-field kick out to my Man of the Match Watkins wing, who is able to challenge and pressure George into fumbling the ball in the air, gather and touch-down in the corner for his fourth of the game. Sinfield finally gets his eye in from that far right hand touch line and adds the 2, to take the final score to 6 – 28.

Wakefield don’t give up and they are denied a possible conciliation score on the hooter, as a Griffin pass sails passed George into touch.

This was not a classic Leeds performance, despite an outstanding individual performance by Watkins, who looked far more comfortable and confident on the wing than he did in the centres last week. Defensively, especially when fielding attacking kicks, we looked to have made huge improvements from last week’s poor effort. However, I can’t help thinking that, despite Wakefield’s kicks being very accurate, they failed to adequately stretch our defence in the previous 5 tackles, meaning we were able to hold a well organised line even on the last. It was also good to see Leuluai back in the side and he and Burgess were our stand out forwards for me.

Also, hats off to Wakefield! As some of you know, I have a soft spot for them, and I thought they threw everything at us, especially in the first half where they dominated and showed why, despite having such a young side, they should finish well off the bottom despite their 4 point deduction. I am not sure that the RFL should condemn them or Castleford for that matter, to three years or longer in the Championship this time round for still having crap grounds. I predict that Salford, Crusaders and possibly Catalans will finish below them both! There, I said it!

The pie-eaters on Friday will be another prospect altogether! We did show a noticeable improvement on last week’s performance today, but we will have to at least improve by the same again if we are to beat the Champions who will be smarting from this weekend’s home defeat!

Editors note: I did make it, but couldn't have described the game better.

Please vote for your Man-of-the-Match in the front page poll.

Match Facts


Kick Off:
James Child

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