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Snow Walkover
Posted by southstander on January 30 2010 - 10:24:49

Great Debut

A sell out crowd of 10,334 welcomed Superleague to Wrexham, the new home of last seasons basement side the newly truncated Crusaders.

SKY were there to start their 2010 coverage as Brian Noble plotted to undo the Rhinos in his first competitive game in charge. Leeds welcomed Eastwood and Delaney to the squad, but Noble had eight new signings pulling on Crusaders shirts.

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

34

Rhinos

v

Crusaders

06

Superleague XV - Round 1

29th January 2010

Snow Walkover

An inch of snow covered the Racecourse Ground and welcomed the two sides to the field in front of a packed house. Ground staff had worked hard to clear the powdery precipitation from the lines and we were all set for the start of another long season. Leeds rested Peacock and were without Webb after he failed a late fitness test but new Aussie signings Delaney and Eastwood were ready for action, the latter perhaps too eager.

The bookies had made the Rhinos firm favourites with a -24 handicap but the home side were an unknown quantity, especially with our nemesis Noble at the helm. And within three minutes we were behind on the scoreboard and wondering whether we might have trodden on an almighty banana skin.

A kick return by Watkins had seen him lose the ball and as we defended in our own twenty we gave away a daft penalty for offside. Witt accepted the offer and a 0-2 lead. The Crusaders set about defending it, and building on it, as Leeds attack was ineffectual. Perhaps we expected the home side to capitulate early on, but they were showing that they were made of strong stuff and willing to give us a game.

It was nineteen minutes of hard graft before we got the breakthrough, and that only thanks to a howler from the Crusaders full-back. A Delaney kick through from the forty bounced awkwardly and put Youngquest on his backside. Donald pounced on the opportunity and touched down the loose ball in the goal area for Leeds first of the season. Sinfield goaled for 6-2.


14 points
Now it was Leeds turn to defend and the Crusaders tried to get back in the game. On twenty-seven they levelled the scores thanks to a high kick to the corner from Witt which found Watkins wanting and allowed Mellars to collect the ball and pass out to Raynor to add another score t his tally against Leeds. Witt failed to convert as he slipped on the snow and the side battled out the remaining twelve minutes to go into the break all-square.

This wasn't in the plan. This should have been a Leeds massacre but the Crusaders seemed a well drilled outfit, up for the game, and bolstered by a partisan home crowd and over-excited PA announcer. You expected that the second half would be a different story, but there was still some nagging doubt.

With the second half ten minutes old Ali Lauiti'iti got the best chance of the half so far but the Crusaders defence did well to hold him just short, but Leeds were beginning to get on top and you felt that it would only be a matter of time before we broke through and opened the flood gates.

It took until sixteen minutes from the end for those gates to open and once again it was Delaney who was the provider.

Good Leeds hands in their own twenty and a final pass from Delaney took out the Crusaders defence and McGuire went seventy metres past a visibly tiring opposition to score. Sinfield added the extras for 12-6.


Midfield General

Three mintes later and a McGuire offload in front of the sticks hit the backside of the luckless Youngquest and was picked up by Ali for a walk in. Sinfield converted for 18-6.

On seventy-two Sinfield got over the try line, this time off a clever Buderus kick and once again he added the conversion for 14-6, the Crusaders were broken, and their crowd silenced. But Leeds hadn't finished.

On seventy-six Delaney got on the score sheet himself, this time off a McGuire pass, but a late lunge by a Crusaders defender saw him with a bad gash across the back of his head and blood streaming. Sinfield missed the goal. The final action of the game saw a dubious try to Ali Lauiti'iti as he charged the line off a McGuire pass. On the video replay it looked like he might have failed to ground the ball but the video referee gave him his second and Leeds their fifth trying a scintilating last sixteen minutes.

This was not a great Leeds performance, but it was the first outing of the season, and we were playing on a pitch covered in an inch of snow. In the end it was a comfortable win over a side who will do better this season than they did last.

Delaney looked like the 'real deal' and Buderus is back firing on all cylinders. Eastwood looks decent enough but was probably trying way too hard tonight and made a few rudimentary mistakes. All-in-all a decent nights work and two points in the bag. What more could we ask?


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
Delaney46%
8
McGuire25%
5
Jones-Buchanan11%
5
Sinfield11%
3
Buderus7%

See here for season standings.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Crusaders
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
23
Watkins
2
Youngquest
2
Donald
1
14
Dyer
3
Delaney
1
13
Trimarchi
4
Senior
4
Mellars
5
Hall
5
Raynor
1
6
McGuire
1
6
Witt
1
7
Burrow
9
Withers
8
Leuluai
8
O'Hara
9
Buderus
15
Lee
16
Bailey
10
Bryant
11
Jones-Buchanan
17
Peek
18
Ablett
12
Chan
13
Sinfield
1
5
16
Winterstein
12
Lauiti'iti
2
18
Thackray
14
Diskin
19
James
15
Eastwood
21
White
17
Kirke
23
Lupton

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
06-06
Referee:
Ben Thaler
Crowd:
10,334


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