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Crowned Minor Champions
Posted by southstander on September 11 2009 - 22:24:19

Leader

We travelled over the Pennines on a sunny friday night needing a draw to seal top spot and lift the League Leaders Shield. We already knew that we were without Senior and JJB through suspension and the teamsheet which greeted me at the ground confirmed that the skipper Sinfield was rested and that Danny McGuire was absent on compassionate grounds, I believe due to a family bereavement.

The sight of Ablett practicing positional kicks during the warm-up didn't fill me with confidence and with two of the Rhinos 'holy trinity' missing I revised my mental prediction to a close game and a narrow win.

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

30

Rhinos

v

Reds

24

Superleague XIV

Round 27

11th September 2009

Crowned Minor Champions

If there was ever a clear sign of a club being clueless, it was typified by the Reds who booked a pre-match opera singer who screeched a rendition of the Rugby Union anthem 'World in Union'. How embarrassing for all concerned! Good job SKY chose to go to Hull or the Reds would have looked fools in front of the whole rugby league world not just the four thousand from Headingley who had joined the two thousand Reds faithful.

Leeds set off well and totally dominated the opening quarter hour. Donald and Lauiti'iti both had early tries chalked off by the enigmatic Alibert for imaginary infringements and Smith lost the ball on the line for what could have been an 18-0 lead. Then, totally against the run of play, and with their first foray into the Rhinos twenty (thanks to Peacock being penalised for lying on), Adamson pushed through a weak tackle and scored.Wilshire added the extras and sent the home supporters into a frenzy, stunning the Rhinos masses.

Nine minutes later and the Reds took benefit from another penalty, this time for offside. A couple of good breaks got the home side close before a fast play-the-ball and long ball left put Wilshire over in the corner. He converted his own try and the Reds had a 12-0 lead, totally against the run of play and definitely not in the nights script.

A quick check of the WAP found that the Saints were trailing.

It was the half-hour mark before Leeds scored their first legitimate try.

Hall broke well down the left wing and came inside, drawing two defenders, before passing to Watkins to run in the four pointer. Lee Smith had the kicking duties and duly obliged. Deficit halved.

On thirty-five Wilshire missed a simple penalty from in front of the sticks missing the opportunity to open an eight points lead and with a minute to go to the hooter Salford were penalised for holding down and two plays later debutant Jay Pitts, looking impressive from his first touch, scored his first senior Leeds try. Smith goaled to square us at 12-12 for half time.


Super Skipper

The news from Knowsley Road was good. Saints were losing to the Dragons giving us clear advantage and keeping the Bulls out of the play-offs. It was all set up for a sweet night.

Nine minutes into the second half and Leeds hit the front as Burgess span over next to an upright off a short pass from Rob Burrow. Pitts and Peacock had laid the platform with good runs but the try was well finished by Biffa. Smith kicked the two for 18-12.


Winner
On fifty-five a Burrow up-and-under was plucked out of the air by Webb who touched down unopposed and the Smith conversion gave us 24-12.

The Reds defence held out for fifteen more minutes, despite incredible pressure, before Ablett managed to find his way to the line and pick up a try of his own. Smith kicked the two and now it was 30-12. Saints were still behind, the silverware was ours.

But the Reds still tried to put a dampener on the party. On seventy-five Littler managed to get his name on the board and it was improved by a Wilshire conversion. And with three minutes remaining Wilshire and Paul combined to put Ratchford over. Once again Wilshire kicked the extras for 30-24.

Despite intense Salford pressure in the dying seconds the Rhinos makeshift side held on for another win. That makes five on the bounce and eleven in the last twelve. It looks like the World Club Challenge and early season inconsistency was the price that we paid to be peaking at the right time.

This wasn't pretty, and all credit to a poor Salford side who kept going right to the end and almost snatched a draw. At the end of the day we could have lost as Saints crashed embarrassingly at home to the Dragons (Saints have now lost four in the last five), slamming the door on the Bulls play-off hopes.

We've won the Minor Premiership for the first time since 2004, but now the season really starts as we go on the quest for a third consecutive Grand Final win.

Well done the Rhinos, reigning Champions and now Minor Premiers. What a mouthwatering prospect the next month holds.


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
Ablett33%
8
Peacock24%
5
Lauiti'iti18%
5
Pitts18%
4
Bailey6%
4
Webb6%

See here for season standings.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Reds
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Webb
1
1
Fitzpatrick
2
Donald
2
Wilshire
1
4
3
Smith
5
3
Henry
23
Watkins
1
15
Littler
1
5
Hall
24
McGilvray
18
Ablett
1
6
Smith
7
Burrow
19
Ratchford
1
8
Leuluai
8
Cashmere
14
Diskin
9
Alker
10
Peacock
10
Stapleton
12
Lauiti'iti
11
Sibbit
17
Kirke
20
Adamson
1
21
Worrall
13
Swain
24
Jones-Bishop
16
Leuluai
16
Bailey
17
Paul
19
Burgess
1
23
Sidlow
30
Pitts
1
22
Nash

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
12-12
Referee:
T. Alibert
Crowd:
6,101


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