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Rhinos Win 'Classic' on Road to Old Trafford
Posted by southstander on September 26 2008 - 23:42:15

Brace

For the second year running the Warriors travelled to Headingley as both sides looked to secure the second place at Old Trafford to take on Saints in the Grand Final. Wigan again came in on the back of a good win, while the Rhinos had to pick themselves up after a Knowsley Road loss.

The match promised to be a belter, with no quarter asked or given, and by god we weren't disappointed.

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

18

Rhinos

v

Warriors

14

Superleague XIII - 2008

Final Eliminator

26th September 2008

Rhinos Win 'Classic' on Road to Old Trafford

The Rhinos made just one change from last weekends losing side with Ian Kirke brought in to beef up the pack at the cost of low-on-confidence Jordan Tansey. The Wigan coach had been delayed in the traffic and the visitors didn't make it to the ground until fifty minutes before the kick off, not the ideal preparation for Nobles side who had been playing knock-out football for the past two weeks.

The game started off at 100 miles an hour. Leeds had first use but only made it to half way and when the kick went to Calderwood the Rhinos signalled their intention by dragging the ex-Rhino into touch. Despite being only half full the SouthStand atmoshere was electric and both sides seemed to respond with the highest intensity opening twenty we'd seen at Headinley this season. Brilliant defence thwarted imaginative attack from both sides but the Rhinos were clearly leading in possession and territory.

Early in the match Lee Smith made it onto report after lashing out with his boot while trying to get up from under one of many Wigan 'holding down at the tackle' incidents. He caught Bailey full in the face and went on report, it will be a nervous wait to see if he makes it past tuesdays disciplinary unscathed.

On twenty minutes Jamie Jones-Buchanan found the first opening of the game and went seventy metres before being hauled down just short by Calderwood. As he played the ball Calderwood dove on the loose ball before Burrow could pick it up and although 'Saint' Steve had blown for a Rhinos penalty a melee ensued as a Wigan player tried to strangle the diminuative Leeds scrum half. Senior ran twenty metres to get involved and when the fracas had died down Calderwood (professional foul) and Senior (overkeen to scrap) both got ten minutes. From the resulting penalty Sinfield goaled for two points.

On the half-hour Wigan levelled the scores with a Richards penalty after a late Ellis tackle on Barrett.

The only try of the game came four minutes from the end of a pulsating half when the Rhinos kept the ball alive on the last and a McGuire ball was taken brilliantly over his head by Smith who touched down unchallenged. Sinfield failed to goal the extras and a 6-2 half-time lead seemed meagre based on the way that we'd controlled the game.


Clincher

All credit to Wigan, they were defending well and slowing the game down, much to the Rhinos fans frustration, but within the law acording to the official from St. Helens. There was a glimmer of optimism. We were playing well and had set a platform for the second half.

The opening twenty of the second half once again saw the Rhinos dominate but despite four great chances the scoreline was unchanged.

On forty-six Ali Lauiti'iti looked to be over on the last tackle but the video referee ruled he'd been held up - handover.

On fifty it was Jamie Jones-Buchanans chance but the video replays clearly showed that he'd caught touch before grounding the ball and on fifty-four Rob Burrow was halted millimetres short.

On fifty-eight we looked to have broken the second half duck when Peacock charged over fromm five metres but after five minutes of watching replays, when it seemed that 'Benefit of the doubt' was the only possible conclusion, the video referee ruled against the grounding of the ball - to the dismay of the southStanders.


Three Goals
But on the hour mark we did finally register our first try of the second half.

Wigan were forced to drop-out from under their sticks and as Leeds returned the ball they moved it wide left with Donald taking a difficult ball and flipping it inside to Senior to crash over. Mercifully the officials missed a massive forward pass in the build-up (Sinfield) and 'Saint' Steve gave the try. Sinfield Kicked the goal for 12-2 and now we were starting to feel a little more confident.

On sixty-two Diskin joined Smith on report, this one hashly for a perceived high tackle (he should be okay on tuesday).

The game looked in the bag on sixty-eight when Sinfield kicked a penalty after Lee Smith had been held back while trying to chase a kick through, but an attempted drop goal a couple of minutes later was missed by Sinfield.

Six minutes left on the clock and Senior appeared to have been held back as he went to touch down a loose ball in the Wigan goal but 'Saint' Steve gave Wigan a penalty. Leeds struggled to get back in defence and over a couple of plays Wigan went the length of the field to score through Hansen in the right corner. Richards goaled to reduce the arrears to six points at 14-8.

From the kick-off Barrett lost the ball forwards and the Rhinos fans breathed a huge sigh of relief. A minute later and Wigan spilled the ball around their own forty. Lee Smith was first to it and hacked it forwards twice before collecting and sliding over the line. 'Saint' couldn't make up his own mind but after a couple of watches the video referee couldn't find even the smallest reason to rule this one out. Sinfield missed the conversion but at 18-8 it looked like our game.

A late scare in the form of a Paleaaesina try next to the sticks, and a Richards conversion saw the gap to 18-14 but when with forty second on the clock Stuart Fielden rounded off a terrible personal night by knocking on under his own posts the game was over and the Rhinos had held on for a famous 18-14 victory.

We were worth a bigger win than the scoreline suggests but all credit to Wigan who came to lay-on and spoil and were allowed to do so by 'Saint'. Two big sides bruised and battered one another to an almost standstill in a great game to watch, even as a partial. Leeds have made it through to their fourth final in five years and another crack at lifting the Champions Trophy.

A great game, a great advert, and a great result.

Well done Leeds, see you all in Manchester next Saturday!


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
1
Webb
1
Mathers
5
Smith
2
2
Calderwood
19
Ablett
21
Phelps
4
Senior
1
4
Carmont
2
Donald
5
Richards
3
6
McGuire
6
Barrett
7
Burrow
7
Leuluai
8
Leuluai
8
Fielden
9
Diskin
9
Higham
10
Peacock
15
Higham
12
Ellis
16
Hansen
1
11
Jones-Buchanan
12
Bailey
13
Sinfield
3
22
Tomkins
14
Lauiti'iti
10
Paleaaesina
1
17
Scruton
32
Smith
16
Bailey
11
Hock
18
Kirke
14
Colbon

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
06-02
Referee:
'Saint' Steve Ganson
Crowd:
13,212


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