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Top, Top, Top, Top, Top of the League
Posted by southstander on August 22 2009 - 19:43:01

Hat-Trick

By Phil Caplan

The Rhinos made their first ever Superleague trip to South Wales to take on a battered, bruised and deserted Celtic Crusaders at Rodney Park in Newport.

A near full-strength Leeds needed an eighteen point or more victory to go top of the league for the first time since Round Seven of the 2009 competition as Saints continued to go off the boil with a narrow two point win over the Giants second string last night.

Phil Caplan was at the match and brings you all of the action here......

68

Rhinos

v

Crusaders

00

Superleague XIV

Round 25

22nd August 2009

Top, Top, Top, Top, Top of the League

For the second successive week Leeds inflicted a club record defeat on their opponents to move top of the Super League table with a now-likely, winner-takes-all showdown for the Shield with Saints next up.

Against similar opposition to Mick Potter’s men in terms of experience, Rhinos prospered where their rivals struggled, posting 13 tries and creating three moments of history in inflicting their first nilling of the season, against gallant opponents who captured hearts and minds.

In kicking his third goal, to make it 30-0, skipper Kevin Sinfield became only the second player in the club’s history to reach the landmark 1,000 behind – aptly for the location – Welsh legend Lewis Jones.

Prop Jamie Peacock claimed his first hat trick for the club, his final touchdown in the last minute courtesy of Brent Webb’s largesse behind the line, the custodian - who also grabbed a treble - in outstanding form.

Also for the record books, Leeds appeared in their fourth country in a Super League season, with Rodney Parade giving a glimpse of the future of the professional game in the Principality.

A nicely appointed stadium with an eclectic collection of stands had a hint of Wakefield and Castleford (notably the Robert Price Stand) inside and Wilderspool outside.

Rhinos arrived late, caught up in the M4 traffic heading for U2’s concert in Cardiff after their overnight stay in Bristol, got strapped on the coach and stayed out after the warm up, the kick off being delayed by eight minutes.

Celtic, following their traumatic week in which six stalwart Aussies were served with deportation notices, had six local youngsters in the 17 and bloodied two debutants, outstanding full back Elliot Kear and international Gil Dudson, on the bench.

Their vociferous band of fans kept up a constant barrage of humorous encouragement, creating a fine atmosphere in a hugely encouraging crowd of 5,597, the Crusaders’ second highest of the season.

Rhinos showed no concessions, Ryan Bailey and Kallum Watkins on a superior bench and Ali Lauitiiti given a start as the visitors looked for the 18 point margin that would take them to the summit.

They had achieved that by quarter time, making a tremendous start instigated by Kylie Leuluai’s immense tackle on Ryan O’Hara that forced the ball in the second collision of the match.

Celtic’s task was summed up by the first try, Kear producing a magnificent tackle to deny Lee Smith from a deft Sinfield off load but Rob Burrow’s cross kick being caught by Ryan Hall who sent in Keith Senior in a reversal of the usual roles.

Hall crossed in the same sport to extend his lead at the top of the try charts when Burrow and highly effective Danny McGuire shipped the ball wide following another knock on by the hosts in their own quarter.

Anthony Blackwood just forced a Burrow grubber dead to conceded a drop out and Senior was held just short, gaining a penalty as the Celts vainly tried to halt the tidal wave of momentum against them.

From the tap, the consistently excellent Matt Diskin found Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Sinfield was the link and McGuire sent Scott Donald stepping back on the inside to find the line, Sinfield converting from touch.

Burrow’s pace saw him speed away over 50 metres to send Webb over and after Crusaders had sent the kick off out on the full, Senior grabbed his second with a disdainful hand off.

Luke Burgess’s bust up the middle from the re-start set the position for Diskin to send Peacock to the posts and just before the break, Burrow’s delicate chip was pouched by Webb.

Celtic deserved enormous credit for holding out in the third quarter, Simon Worrall’s disallowed try the nearest Leeds came to increasing their lead.

Peacock’s second via Diskin and Sinfield got the scoreboard rolling again, Smith with a fine break on the left then sending the deserving Burrow scampering in.

Diskin, Burrow and Peacock with a huge charge set up Webb for his hat trick score as the half century mark was reached, Kear producing one of the tackles of the season to deny a flying Donald into touch in the corner after he had fielded a delicate Burrow shallow chip.

Jason Chan came closest to a Celtic score but the visiting defence remained resolute and Leeds ended with three late tries.

Jones-Buchanan, seemingly refreshed, stepped over from Burrow’s pass; Diskin powered over from dummy half to crown a superb display of option taking and Watkins’ and Webb combined for Peacock to become the first Leeds prop to score a hat trick in a Super League match.


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
Peacock57%
8
Webb14%
4
Burrow7%
4
Hall7%
4
Senior7%
4
Sinfield7%

See here for season standings.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Crusaders
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Webb
3
31
Kear
2
Donald
1
5
Blackwood
3
Smith
13
Chalk
4
Senior
2
19
Chan
5
Hall
1
22
Tyrer
6
McGuire
29
White
7
Burrow
1
14
Smith
8
Leuleui
8
O'Hara
14
Diskin
1
23
Budworth
10
Peacock
3
17
James
11
Jones-Buchanan
1
16
Flower
12
Lauiti'iti
10
Bryant
13
Sinfield
8
21
Beasley
16
Bailey
20
Tangata-Toa
19
Burgess
25
davies
21
Worrall
28
Dudson
23
Watkins
30
Mills

Kick Off:
18:00
Half-Time:
34-00
Referee:
Thierry Alibert
Crowd:
5,597


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