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The Wembley Hurt Goes On, and On, and On
Posted by southstander on August 26 2012 - 08:21:50

Two Late Tries
I've got a shocking Challenge Cup record, even worse than Kevin Sinfield and Rob Burrow!

Yesterday I was full of hope, but low on expectation, as we followed the lads to Wembley for the third season running praying with every sinew that come 4:30 it would be two from nine, and not another crushing loss.

The game had a bit of everything. Torrential rain, shocking refereeing, a close opening forty and some great tries. In the end we were comprehensively beaten, and we travelled home shattered.

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

18

Rhinos

v

Wolves

35

Challenge Cup Final

Wembley Stadium

25th August 2012

The Hurt Goes On

If you want to read a neutral report, try here.

McDermott sprung a couple of surprises in his team selection. Burrow started at hooker, despite sitting the last two weeks out, confining Lunt to the bench. Stevie Ward joined Sinfield in the half backs and the most difficult decision must have been the one which saw Kirke and Keinhorst on the bench and Moore and Clarkson miss out. McDermott had gambled, but fortune can favour the brave.

The opening exchanges were pretty even with both sides returning the ball from within their own ten, following five drives and a kick. On eight minutes the Rhinos made the first mistake and the Wolves got the lucky break. An offload bounced nicely to be collected by Briers who evaded a tackle before putting in a perfectly weighted angled kick for Joel Monaghan to collect and score unopposed. Hodgson goaled.

The game settled back into a grind until the nineteenth minute when Kirke went from dummy half to scamper over the line from close and send the Rhinos fans crazy. The heavens opened as the lightening and thunder synchronised and Sinfield slotted over the two as the front dozen rows fled to the concourse for shelter.


Very Quiet
Four minutes later and we had the lead thanks to a seemingly unprovoked punch from Wood on Ablett which would have seen sterner action had it not been the first half of a Cup Final. Sinfield opted for the two and kicked it from the forty metre line for 8-6. This was more like it. The hope was still alive, and wouldn't be extinguished until ten minutes into the second half.

On the half hour mark the Wolves pressure kept the Rhinos pinned on their own line. The Wolves took full advantage of a penalty and on the third tackle Waterhouse found a gap to go over and ground. Hodgson kicked the extras for 8-12.

With two minutes of the half left Sinfield narrowed the margin once again, this time after Briers impeeded Hall as he went to collect a Sinfield cross-field kick. Warrington had done their homework on Leeds signature play and kept Hall quiet all afternoon.

The half-time hooter sounded at 10-12 and while we were behind there was plenty of hope for the second half. We probably deserved to be behind, but we'd fought hard and in the second half we would be attacking our own supporters.

The second half was just three minutes old when it looked like we'd regained the lead. As Hodgson brough the ball from his own line he was 'clattered' by Lauluai, Delaney and Burrow. As he hit the deck the ball came free and Delaney picked it up to walk in the try. Silverwood went to the video referee who took an age to aware Leeds a scrum, ruling that Hodgson had knocked on just before Leuluai did the same. It looked harsh, and Leeds would never recover.

Warrington took full advantage and went on an all-out attack, pinning Leeds in their own twenty. A drop-out by Sinfield was blatantly knocked on by Briers but missed by Silverwood who ruled play-on. Two minutes later and a second drop out was punished on the last tackle as fast Wolves hands saw the ball wide left to Riley to go over in the corner.

Warrington added two more in the next ten minutes as Leeds had no answer to the onslaught.

On fifty-seven another Leeds dropout ended with a carbon copy of the Riley try, this time with Atkins going over and on fifty-nine Leeds couldn't stop the offload as McCarthy scored. Hodgson converted the last two and at 10-28 it was all over.


No Ball

On sixty-two Briers dropped a goal from twenty metres to extend the lead to ninteen points and the lads heads visibly dropped. Four converetd tries in the last eighteen was beyond us, and we knew it.

On seventy a Lunt kick was collected by Watkins to score in the corner, but Sinfield missed the goal.

Four minutes later and Brett Hodgson sealed the Lance Todd Trophy with a slide over try which he converted for 14-35 and many Leeds fans were already heading down Wembley Way as Watkins stretched over for his second of the afternoon. Sinfield failed to convert that one too and the final hooter sounded a crushing Rhinos loss by 18-35.

We were devastated, and so were the lads. Back-to-back-to-back losses meant that the gap in the trophy cabinet would remain empty and this great side who have picked up four Grand Final winners rings in the last five years can still not break the Challenge Cup hoodoo and get the win.

We were simply outplayed, and outcoached. The bookies favourites deserved their win and as Leeds fans we can have little complaint.

IF Wood had seen red for punching Ablett. IF the Delaney no-try on forty-three had been allowed. IF Silverwood had spotted the Briers drop-out knock-on. Then things might have been different, but I doubt it. We were blown away and simply not good enough.

Last season we used the loss to Wigan as the motivation to Grand Final success. I am afraid that this loss will have the opposite effect for 2012 and end our season.

The next six weeks will tell, but for now I'm desperately disappointed with my 1 from 9 record in Cup Finals.

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


Match Facts

Rhinos
Warriors
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
4
Hardaker
1
Hodgson
1
5
2
Jones-Bishop
2
Riley
1
3
Watkins
2
19
Ratchford
12
Ablett
4
Atkins
1
5
Hall
5
Monaghan, J.
1
13
Sinfield
3
6
Briers
1
25
Ward
7
Myler
8
Leuluai
20
Hill
7
Burrow
14
Higham
10
Peacock
10
Carvell
11
Jones-Buchanan
11
Waterhouse
1
15
Delaney
12
Westwood
16
Bailey
13
Harrison
17
Kirke
1
8
Morley
31
Lunt
9
Monaghan, M.
20
Griffin
16
Wood
32
Keinhorst
21
McCarthy
1

Kick Off:
14:30
Half-Time:
10-12
Referee:
Richard Silverwood
Crowd:
79,180


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