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Rhinos no Fools as Prodigal Son Returns
Posted by southstander on April 02 2010 - 18:34:45

Prodigal Son

By Brother of SouthStander.com

I missed my first Bradford Derby match for as long as I can remember as I was otherwise engaged (a thousand miles away).

For his first ever SouthStander.com match report my, not so little, brother has taken up the challenge and brings you his perspective on the big game from thursday night, sorry for the slight delay.

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

20

Rhinos

v

Bulls

20

Superleague XV - Round 9

1st April 2010

Rhinos no Fools as Prodigal Son Returns

Could the return of Lee Smith make the difference and bolster the beleaguered boys in Blue and Amber. You better believe it.

Nobody needs to be reminded about the injury woes that have befallen the Rhinos side at the start of this season. What we did need to be reminded of was what a half decent Leeds team, with the knowledge and experience to beat the Bulls, looked like.

The Leeds squad saw the welcome return of Leuluai, Sinfield and Delaney but the South Stand was most vocal about the return, from the dark side, of the much missed Lee Smith who was chanted and cheered onto the pitch.

That said the game couldn’t have started worse for the Rhinos, within three minutes Sinfield was penalised for interference, as referee Phil Bentham set out his stall for fast play. From the resulting set, former Giant, Chris Nero cut through the middle of the Leeds defence to go over just left of the sticks. Matt Orford added the extras and with less than four minutes on the clock we were six points down.


Skipper Back
Leeds pressed the Bulls line but, as we are becoming very accustomed to, Leeds wasted chances and gave away possession like an amateur club. On ten minutes the Bulls made Leeds pay again when a great pass from Sykes found Halley on the wing and his neat in field step left Senior and Hall in no-mans land and he went over with ease. Orford missed the difficult kick and the score stood at 10 – 0. More errors from Leeds followed and resulting from an incorrect play the ball from Brent Webb on 21 minutes, Orford kicked successfully to extend the Bradford lead to two converted tries.

To add to Leeds woes on 23 minutes Hall lost the ball in the tackle and from the resulting play Menzies swatted off tackles from Senior and Hall to go through and Bradford were 16 points to the good. Orford failed to convert and hope was fading fast in the South Stand.

A ridiculous number of errors later Bradford were penalised for what looked like a perfectly good offload apparently after Bentham had called held. From the following play Hall on the left wing was stopped short of the line but from the next play the ball went the full width of the field finding Lee Smith in space. His return to League and the Rhinos was punctuated with a seemingly simple finish as he went over in the corner with 32 minutes on the clock. Sinfield kicked from the side line and a small glimmer of hope started to appear as the teams went in for half time.

On 43 minutes a kick towards the Leeds try line from Bradford on the 4th tackle was chased down by Webb and Halley and we held our breath while the 4th official ruled the try out claiming that Webb grounded the ball.

Following yet more errors from both sides Bradford pressed the Leeds try line and on 51 minutes Nero found his way between several Leeds players and Bentham didn’t need the fourth official in order to award the try. The glimmer of hope suddenly seemed to slip away and the South Stand went silent once again.

To make matters even worse on 58 minutes Buderas held on for far too long in the tackle and Bentham brandished the yellow card to leave Leeds one man short for the next ten minutes.

Then, as we seem to have done so many times before, Leeds seemed relax, stop panicking, maybe start to think that they have nothing to lose and they actually started to play, at least a little bit more, like the Leeds we know and love.

On 64 minutes after pressing the Bradford line a kick from McGuire forced a goal line drop out and the Rhinos seemed to switch up a gear. Bradford were penalised for markers not square, and Bailey powered through the Bradford defence and went over but was held. During the following play some neat passing from Webb found Delaney who easily went over. Sinfield missed the kick but the margin was back to ten.


Binned

On 71 minutes Leeds forced a second set inside the Bradford 20, and on the second play the skipper made a lovely dummy like 360 spin, confusing the Bradford defenders and went over with ease. The South Stand went crazy sensing that the game was not completely beyond us.

Sinfield converted his own try and the score was 16 – 20 with seven minutes left on the clock.

With 5 minutes left to go Maguire put a beautiful low kick across the field and the prodigal son, Lee Smith took the low bouncing ball firmly into his grasp and went over in the corner. It was a dream return for Smith and for the South Stand faithful who had welcomed back into the Headingley fold. Unfortunately Sinfield, who didn’t look completely match fit, missed the tricky kick and the score was all square.

On 78 minutes Lynch made Bradford’s last ditch attempt at a drop goal and put the ball just right of the posts. Leeds made up ground and with seconds to go at the other end Sinfield and even Jamie Jones-Buchanan had a go at getting our own drop goal but it was not to be.

All in all it was an entertaining game to watch and it was great to see the return of the much missed Lee Smith. On recent form I was pleased we weren’t beaten easily, a point is better than no point at all.


Please vote for your Man-of-the-Match in the front page poll.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Bulls
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Webb
6
Kearney
?
Smith
2
1
Halley
1
3
Delaney
1
15
Platt
4
Senior
4
Nero
2
5
Hall
5
Reardon
6
McGuire
3
Sykes
7
Burrow
7
Orford
2
8
Leuluai
8
Scruton
14
Diskin
9
L'Estrange
16
Bailey
10
Lynch
17
Kirke
20
Whitehead
11
Jones-Buchanan
13
Langley
13
Sinfield
1
2
11
Menzies
1
12
Lauiti'iti
12
Hall
9
Buderus
14
Godwin
19
Burgess
18
Kopczak
24
Ambler
22
Donaldson

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
06-16
Referee:
Phil Bentham
Crowd:
17,234


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