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Oh là là
Posted by southstander on September 21 2012 - 21:50:17

Sensational Skipper
A trip to fourth placed Catalans Dragons was never going to be easy. We'd travelled there a month ago and came back battered and bruised and pointless after letting them amass a big lead and then fighting back.

We were without the suspended Leuluai but hopeful that Danny McGuire, missing last month, may be the difference that would enable us to snatch the victory.

Only a handful of Rhinos fans made it into the Perpignan cauldron, and the Rhinos job was to silence the massive partisan home support. It was time to buckle up for a rough ride.

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

27

Rhinos

v

Dragons

20

Superleague XVII - Play-Offs II

21st September 2012

Oh là là

The home side were narrow favourites but most pundits were saying it was too close to call. The game required strong refereeing, but got Ben Thaler, and with James Child on one line anything could happen.

From the initial exchanges it was clear that this was going to be a game fought out down the centre of the field, and one where the strength of the packs was more likely to determine the outcome than speed down the wings. The Dragons dominated early play and make their superiority count with the opening try on eight, allowed by the video referee despite what looked like a clear double-movement. Mercifully Dureau missed the conversion so we were just four down.

On sixteen it looked like we were over for our first try and Jones-Bishop was put over in the right corner but the referee went to the video official who ruled that there had been an obstruction in the build up. Looks like Trent Robinsons 50:50 decisions were going to the Catalans.

It looked like both sides might be settling for the 0-4 scoreline at half time, but as both packs tired we got a flurry of late tries.

On thirty-fine the Rhinos benefitted from two quick penalties, used all five tackles on the second set, and then Lunt dummied to put in a grubber from close before passing to Stevie Ward to go through a gap and dive over. Sinfield kicked the goal for 6-4.


Big Difference
Then the double whammy.

Just a minute after the first try Jamie Jones-Buchanan went through a gap before passing inside to the supporting Lunt who went over to score by the posts. An inspired McDermott substitution played a key role in establishing a 12-4 Rhinos lead, all we had to do now was protect it into half-time.

But Leeds weren't resting on their laurels and with seconds left we were pressing the home line again when McGuire threw a pass to the wing which was intercepted by Blanch, running eighty metres to score and outpacing Hardaker and Sinfield as they tried to cover back. Dureau converted for 12-10 at half time, probably a fair reflection of the half.

It had already been a real bruiser of a game, both sides looking battered and exhausted, and we'd another forty to play. the game could still go either way, and that is how it would stay for the majority of the second half.

Eight minutes after the break and the home side was again in the lead. A Dureau kick to the corner was caught and grounded by Mounis as Ryan Hall spectated. Dureau missed the conversion and the score was 12-14. The Rhinos needed to be next on the scoresheet, but it would take until the sixty-third minute before we'd regain the lead.

When the try came it was scrappy. A Sinfield grubber bounded off the boot of Sa and was picked up and grounded by Ablett, just reward for a great game. Sinfields goal gave us 18-14.

A minute later and the lead was extended to ten points after a brilliant barnstorming run from TMFMISL Bailey who swatted away three attempted tackles before being relieved to find McGuire supporting down his outside. He released Danny to run thirty and score, making the Sinfield goal a formality from under the sticks.

With ten minutes left the Catalans again came back after benefitting from three quick penalties before Bosc ran the angle and went under the posts. Dureau kicked the extras for 24-20.

When Sinfield elected to kick a penalty goal on seventy-two after a high tackle by Fakir on Burrow, the Rhinos had a six point advantage but the Catalans still had the chance of securing a golden point finish with one converted try. It would be a vervous last eight minutes.


Red Hall Date

With two minutes left the game was sewn up with a rarity, a Danny McGuire drop goal (his first for six years), after Sinfield got caught up on the last play. McGuires kick from thirty metres just cleared the cross bar and secured a famous Leeds victory and progress to the semi-finals as we once again punched above our weight in the play-offs.

Some great Leeds performances but I'd single out the captain for a sensational game controlling everything, Burrow for causing mischief, Lunt for turning round the game after coming on in the first half and Ablett for continually putting his body on the line.

This was one of the Rhinos performances of the season and had to be to get the win. None of the remaining sides will fancy us in the semi-finals, and if we play like this we have every chance of another Old Trafford visit. Now we've nothing to lose, we've met expectations. Now we've everything to gain.

Leeds biggest concern will be whether or not McGuire gets called to Red Hall for a swinging arm (I suspect he will) and then whether he gets suspended (I think he will), and then whether we appeal (I think we'll lose). Lets hope that I am wrong as we will need him next week.

Footnote:

I don't often get to listen to post match interviews but tonight I did. Sinfield and McDermott were the epitomy of professionalism whereas Trent Robinson was a bitter and twisted man. Sinfield and McDermott paid tribute to the Catalans, Robinson bitched about the referee and the RFL with no grace in defeat. Glad to see the back of you Robinson, get yourself back to Australia with all the other moaners and whingers, but before you go watch the video of the game and see how hard done to the Rhinos were!

You are a discredit to your side, and the game. Take a leaf out of Steve Menzies book, now he was a gentleman.

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


Match Facts

Rhinos
Dragons
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
4
Hardaker
1
Greenshields
1
2
Jones-Bishop
2
Blanch
2
3
Watkins
25
Duport
12
Ablett
1
4
Sa
5
Hall
18
Millard
13
Sinfield
5
6
Bosc
1
6
McGuire
1
1
7
Dureau
2
17
Kirke
8
Ferriol
7
Burrow
9
Henderson
10
Peacock
10
Casty
11
Jones-Buchanan
11
Menzies
15
Delaney
12
Anderson
16
Bailey
24
Baitieri
19
Clarkson
3
Pryce
25
Ward
1
13
Mounis
31
Lunt
1
22
Fakir
20
Griffin
23
Paea

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
12-10
Referee:
Ben Thaler
Crowd:
11,523


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