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Rhinos Take the Long Road
Posted by southstander on September 20 2008 - 15:20:59

No Answer

Twelve months ago the Rhinos could count themselves unlucky to have missed out on the win at Knowsley Road in a hard fought battle which saw the home side triumph by just two.

Last night we can count ourselves lucky to have only lost by twenty-eight points against a Saints side who showed their intent to clean up on this seasons trophies. We went, we were rubbish, we came home with our tails between our legs!

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

10

Rhinos

v

Saints

38

Superleague XIII

Play-Offs First Semi-Final

19th September 2008

Gutted

On paper it was as good a Leeds side as we could have hoped for at this point in the season. The only player to start who wasn't numbered in the first thirteen was Ablett in for the now departed Toopi. Even the bench had players 14, 16 and 17 with Tansey being the only other player with a shirt number greater than seventeen. I'd have probably picked Kirke in the place of Tansey, but can understand the need for cover at hooker and full-back that Jordan brings.

We got off to a rip-snorting start with some 'bellringing' tackles early on. Saints had first use of the ball but Leeds kept them pinned back, and Saints repaid, with interest, on their first defence. The big hits continued until the sixth minute when Meli broke away down the left wing before being brought down short. From the next play the ball was moved quickly right and Gardner went over in the corner on the overlap. Long failed to convert.

On fourteen we were right back in it when keeping the ball alive well before Sinfield kicked for the corner. Meli chested the ball to the floor where it was picked up by McGuire to walk over and score. The video referee ruled in Leeds favour when it looked more likely that the try would be ruled out. Sinfield missed the conversion but it was 4-4.

But then the parity ended as Saints took control.

On twenty-two Leeds were penalised twice down to close to their own line. Saints moved the ball right from close and Gidley went over. Long managed to convert for 4-10.

Nine minutes later and Long kicked a penalty after Tansey stripped the ball in a two man tackle, although he missed a penalty attempt bang on half-time after Jamie Jones-Buchanan had been adjudged offside.


Big Effort

We went in eight points down, had undoubtedly been outplayed, but still felt as though we were hanging on. It would need a brilliant second half from the Rhinos, but what was to follow turned into a nightmare.

Saints second-half scoring festival got underway on forty seven when Pryce broke down the middle after being missed by Tansey. The ball was maved left and Meli went over. Long missed the conversion.

Four minutes later and Leeds were forced to drop out. A strong Saints return, coupled with some poor Leeds tackling allowed Roby to score. Long missed the goal but at 4-20 we were starting to look out-of-it.

On fifty-six the Rhinos were in disarray as Roby sliced through a lacklustre defence to score his second in five minutes. This time Long kicked the conversion and now it was 4-26. The game was over and some shocking Leeds play meant that Saints were already in the final.


Trier
On sixty-three Sinfield threw an intercept pass which Wilkin gladly collected and went fifty metres to score under the sticks giving Long an easy goal for 4-32. Bluey started substituting his key players to save them for battles ahead.

On seventy-one Ellis spun over for a consolation try and Burrow, in the absence of the skipper, slipped over the extras. But it was brief respite and with three minutes left on the clock a grubber kick on the last was collected and scored by Wilkin as Tansey just watched.

With the exception of the opening ten minutes the Rhinos were never in the game, and despite a full strength side, we were outclassed and totally outplayed by a devastating Saints side. We need a 100% improvement to even get past next weeks second semi-final, let alone think we are in with a chance of repeating last years great win to be crowned champions.

There are several players who need to take a long hard look at themselves over the coming week and see if they are actually giving their best for the side. You can could on less than one hand the player who can hold their heads up high after last night. One in particular, Jordan Tansey, must have proved through his glaring mistakes that there is no place for him the Rhinos side.

Already I'm not looking forward to next fridays game, whoever the opposition may end up being. And if we get past that hurdle, then on this performance I fear for an embarrassing hammering in the final.


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


Match Facts

Rhinos
Saints
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Webb
1
Wellens
2
Donald
2
Gardner
1
19
Ablett
3
Gidley
1
4
Senior
4
Talau
5
Smith
5
Meli
1
6
McGuire
1
6
Pryce
7
Burrow
1
7
Long
5
8
Leuleui
17
Graham
9
Diskin
9
Cunningham
10
Peacock
18
Hargreaves
12
Ellis
1
11
Gilmour
11
Jones-Buchanan
12
Wilkin
2
13
Sinfield
16
Flannery
17
Scruton
14
Roby
2
14
Lauiti'iti
21
Clough
17
Scruton
23
Fa'asavalu
21
Tansey
8
Fozzard

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
4-12
Referee:
Ashley Klein
Crowd:
11,407


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