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Outclassed by the Eagles
Posted by southstander on March 01 2009 - 21:28:59

Clattered

In excess of thirty-thousand Rhinos fans flocked to Elland Road to see if their heroes could defend their World Club crown against a determined, acclimatised and well drilled Manly Sea Eagles.

The great news was that Rob Burrow was back in the starting line-up, the bad was that we were still without the inspirational Brent Webb and the newly injured Danny Buderus.

It was going to be tough.

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

20

Rhinos

v

Sea Eagles

28

World Club Challenge 2009

Elland Road

1st March 2009

Outclassed

Your SouthStander.com pundits had all predicted a Rhinos loss, the bookies were giving Leeds a start on the handicap and almost all the 'neutrals' had written us off. This was exactly the situation where we'd prospered in recent Grand Finals.

Conditions were fine as kick-off approached, a welcomed change from last seasons match-up, and Bluey named the strongest side he could in the situation to take on the finest that Australia could throw at us. Optimism was lifted by the announcement that the 'holy trinity' of Sinfield, McGuire and Burrow were back to gether for the first time this season. Could we pull off the shock win?

The opening twenty-minutes gave us everything that we'd hoped for. It was a full-blooded, lightening fast, peach of a game. Both sides were battering one another as the forwards set about a demolition derby. The back were finding little space as they probed and tested. The game was evenly poised when Rob Burrow got clattered with a massive hit which laid him low and resulted in him being helped from the field. There was little wrong with the tackle, despite the those getting caught up in the occasion calling for a sending off, but it was the last we'd see of the little guy.

On twenty Josh Perry took exception to a vigorous Peacock tackle and as the play moved to the wing an almighty punch up flared which saw Aussie referee Robinson give both players ten minutes. The Rhinos concentration was broken and from the resulting penalty Manly worked the ball close and Stewart crossed for the opening score. Orford added the extras for 0-6.

On twenty-eight Manly doubled their lead as Watmough went through a gap off a great ball (if slightly forward) and stepped past a flailing Lee Smith whose ankle tap simply caused the second rower to dive over the line. Orford goaled again for 0-12, we needed to score next.

On thirty-three Manly bombed a walk-in try as Stewart dropped the ball with the line clear. It could have been game over.

With three minutes of the half remaining the Rhinos got on the scoresheet, with a little help from video referee Ganson.


Leeds Opener

A kick through was missed by the Manly defender and picked up by JJB who found McGuire. Danny went for the line but appeared to lose the ball in the act of Scoring. The loose ball was touched down by JJB and Robinson went upstairs. When the result came back in our favour you had to wonder if Ganson had hit the wrong button. But score we had and despite Sinny missing the extras we went in just eight behind at 4-12.

We were still in the game, but only just. We were being outplayed across most areas of the game and the loss of Burrow was a major setback. We'd also missed Peacock in the ten minutes that he was off, conceeding the Eagles two tries.

The opening eight minutes of the second half was to see the visitors close out the game.

On forty-two a speculative pass hit the deck and as Leeds scrambled to pick it up, Stewart gathered and went over Orford missed the extras, proving that he is human rather than machine.


Consolation
Two minutes later and the Eagles were in again. A kick through was collected by a player who must have been in an offside position and then on the next play Watmough went over for his second of the night. Orford goaled for 4-22.

Four minutes later and it was game over as Glenn Hall went through a gap, found L'Estrange in support who put Matai over in the corner. Orford missed again but at 4-26 the Rhinos were not going to make it back into the game.

On sixty-five, after two quick penalties on the Manly line, Sinfield crabbed left and passed out to Senior who crossed in the cormer. Sinfield added the extras for 10-26.

Seven minutes from time and a great Lauiti'iti break off a Senior pass saw the big man carry one handed, fending off defenders and then pass out to Ryan Hall who came inside and scored. Sinfield converted from the touchline for 16-26 but time was running out.

A seventy-six minute Orford penalty goal after an offence on the Leeds line stretched the margin to an unassailable twelve points.

With the clock running down JJB went close on the last tackle and then in the dying seconds a great break by Senior found Danny McGuire who went twenty to score a late consolation. The hooter sounded as Sinfield missed the extras and the Aussies had triumphed by 28-20.

Taking into consideration some erratic, and at time bizarre refereeing from the Australian Robinson, the lads will have felt hard done by. Having said that the Aussies outplayed us across the whole park. They were bigger and harder in the forwards, faster and slippier in the backs, and more imaginative in the halves. We can't complain at the outcome, and we should really give credit to Leeds for a valiant effort against a very good side.

This was the first 'big' game that we've lost for a couple of years and it will do the lads no harm to experience a loss in a game which so obviously mattered to them. It's an experience that they won't want to repeat again this season.

Now we can re-focus on winning the Superleague for a third time with Warrington away next sunday.


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
Smith30%
7
Lauiti'iti22%
7
Senior22%
4
Peacock11%
3
McGuire7%
1
Diskin4%
1
Sinfield4%

See here for season standings.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Sea Eagles
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
3
Smith
1
Stewart
2
2
Donald
2
Robertson
18
Ablett
3
Lyon
4
Senior
1
4
Matai
1
5
Hall
1
5
Williams
6
McGuire
1
6
Bailey
7
Burrow
7
Orford
4
8
Leuleui
8
King
14
Diskin
9
Ballin
10
Peacock
10
Perry
17
Kirke
11
Watmough
2
11
Jones-Buchanan
1
12
Hall
13
Sinfield
2
13
Stewart
23
Watkins
14
L'Estrange
19
Burgess
15
Cuthbertson
16
Bailey
16
Rose
12
Lauiti'iti
18
Rodney

Kick Off:
18:00
Half-Time:
04-12
Referee:
Jason Robinson
Crowd:
32,569


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