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Draw Feels Like a Loss
Posted by southstander on April 01 2011 - 23:32:40

Leeds Opener
Tonight I witnessed the best Rhinos performance of the season (for 65 minutes) by a long way. I saw us defend like trojans and attack with silky skills.

I saw us take a point off the Superleague 2010 Champions in a game which I had been convinced all week that we'd lose by a massive margin.

Yet I still feel like we've lost.

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

22

Rhinos

v

Warriors

22

Superleague XVI - Round 8

1st April 2011

Draw Feels Like a Loss

The Champions were in town and anyone with half a brain and an opinion expected that they'd be taking the two points home to pie land. Lee Smiths early return was smoke and mirrors and the visitors had rat boy and his thug brother reunited after suspension. Wigan were wearing the pink, but a lighter shade than ours, as our blue was back as we tried to improve on a one win in three while wearing it.

A good crowd was in Headingley and weather conditions were perfect as the Rhinos kicked off and immediately Thomas Leuluai dropped the ball. It was a great start but we couldn't capitalise on it and Wigan forced a Leeds error. Silverwood spent the next ten minutes trying to blow the pea out of his whistle but despite the visitors getting the majority of the decisions the Rhinos defence held firm.

It was the twelfth minute when a daft Bailey penalty, his speciality, gave Wigan field position and Leuluai made amends for his earlier gaffe by feeding Tomkins (the thug one) to cross in an unfamiliar centre role. Rat boy missed the conversion attempt but after bearing up well in early exchanges you couldn't help but think that this was the start of bad things to come.

Rather than capitulate the Rhinos kept going in a game of massive intensity, enormous hits, and crazy mistakes from both sides, which kept 16k+ spellbound.


5 from 5
On eighteen Leeds took the lead with a brilliant passage of passing ending with Jones-Buchanan crossing off a pinpoint Buderus pass. Sinfield goaled for 6-4.

Two minutes later and we were in dream land as Hall broke down the left before putting in a grubber kick which was dribbled forward and dropped on by Buderus. Sinfield kicked again for 12-4 and Wigan and their fans looked shell-shocked.

Leeds dominated the remainder of the half and had three tries ruled out in the corners for forward passes (Webb twice and Senior with the American football impressions) and right on the death Hall juggled the ball under pressure on the line and saw a fourth try ruled out.

Leeds had been the better side for thirty minutes of the second half but the game had been end to end and exhilarating to watch. The prayer was that we'd be able to keep up the same intensity for the full eighty and that the already battered bodies would continue to offer resolute defence.

With the second half four minutes old Sinfield stretched the lead by two from in front of the sticks after Wigan were ruled offside. He took the same two three minutes later for the same offence but not before Lima had been yellow carded for a late and dangerous tackle.

Down to twelve men you hoped the Rhinos would net more that two but it was the Wigans defences turn to remain resolute.

Lima was back when on fifty minutes a high Sinfield bomb was dropped by rat boy and bounced into touch. Two plays off the scrum and Webb sidestepped the Wigan defence to score. Sinfield kicked the goal from wide and we were almost home free at 22-4.

Even Wigan couldn't come back from this..could they?


Brilliant Buderus

On sixty-five the game swung Wigans way as the panic set in for the Rhinos.

Farrell went through the Leeds defence like they'd given him an invitation and when he was finally hauled down just short Rat Boy Tomkins took advantage of the space left by a slow retreating Leeds defence to chip the ball and collect himself to score without a Leeds hand on him. He added the extras for 22-10.

On seventy-two Goulding went over in the left corner as Wigan stepped up the pace. Rat Boy failed to convert but now it was 22-14 and Wigan were right back in it, although time was on our side.

With two minutes left Wigan set up a grandstand finish when after forcing a Leeds dropout Wigan worked the ball to the try line and Prescott managed to spin over from close. Rat Boy converted for 24-22 and set up a nervous last ninety seconds.

Wigan returned the Leeds kick with vigour and by the fifth tackle were on the Leeds line when the Rhinos held down in the tackle. There were eight seconds left and as the clock counted to the hooter Wigan opted for the two points and after Rat Boy calmed his nerves he kicked it to level the scores and get the visitors an improbable draw.

For sixty-five minutes the Rhinos defence was sensational and the attack was measured and panic free. This was my Rhinos, this was what I wanted to see. Then for the last fifteen we bottled it and let the visitors panic us into giving them a draw. This was a game that we should have won and looked as though we would with some ease for most of the night. But we are still too fragile.

Massive games from Buderus, Webb and the pack who for the most part performed brilliantly.

It was a great result and one which I'd have snatched if offered at eight o'clock, but after watching the way we performed for long periods I can't help but be disappointed at the end result. I am sure that we'll take a lot from this game, as will Wigan from their fightback.

For sixty-five minutes this was the kind of Leeds I want to see for the rest of the season, and now I'll try and block out the last fifteen....probably with alcohol!


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


Match Facts

Rhinos
Warriors
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Webb
1
1
Tomkins, S.
1
3
19
Watkins
2
Goulding
1
12
Ablett
12
Tomkins, J.
1
4
Senior
4
Carmont
5
Hall
19
Roberts
13
Sinfield
5
13
O'Loughlin
7
Burrow
7
Leuluai
8
Leuluai
10
Coley
9
Buderus
1
9
McIlorum
16
Bailey
14
Prescott
1
20
Hauraki
11
Hansen
22
Pitts
16
Hoffman
11
Jones-Buchanan
1
22
Farrell
17
Kirke
15
Lima
24
McShane
17
Finch
21
Clarkson
21
Mossop
15
Cross
23
Tuson

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
12-04
Referee:
Richard Silverwood
Crowd:
16,118


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