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17 Heroes
Posted by southstander on October 01 2011 - 07:24:57

Brace
We made the journey to the Halliwell-Jones with hope in our hearts but not daring to dream that we'd be the first team to make Old Trafford from outside the top three.

The Wolves had picked us in Clubcall because we were the weakest side left in the competition, the bookies gave us no chance, and the Old Trafford merchandisers had already placed their 'Warrington' orders.

The temperature on the terraces was sweltering and the atmosphere electric as the two sides took the field.

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

26

Rhinos

v

Wolves

24

Superleague XVI

Grand Final - Semi Final

30th September 2011

17 Heroes

From the outset you tell that this was not going to be any old ordinary game. In the early exchanges both sides showed the intensity that is reserved for semi-finals, no quarter asked or given.

The first real chance of the game came after three minutes when Michael Monaghan found a gap in the Leeds defence and broke to the Leeds twenty but good cover turned defense into attack.

As leed regained possession and broke downfield they were given a penalty for a ball steal. Leeds probed and prodded and as the ball was moved left McGuire put in a delightful grubber which was collected and scored by Ablett, plunging the expectant home crowd into silence as the travelling masses from Headingley went bonkers.

Sinfield converted from wide and we'd got an unexpected lead.

It took the Wolves ten minutes to equalise. Having forced a Rhinos drop-out the home side used their set well and on the last put in a kick which was caught, offloaded and once in the hands of Joel Monaghan, scored. Bridge converted to level the scores.


Perfect Game
The next twenty minutes were intense, with two sensational defences on show, and neither side with a clean break to show for their efforts.

On thirty-three the Wolves hit the front after Ganson, giving all the fifty-fifty decisions to the home side, penalised Leeds to deep in their own half.

Warrington took full advantage and Riley crossed next to the sticks. Bridge converted to give the home side a 6-12 half-time advantage, and on reflection it was probably justified on possession and position. But Leeds were still in it, and the lads looked as though they believed in themselves.

Leeds got off to a superb start in the second half, defending the end packet with their vociferous support.

With just forty-nine seconds on the clock a Ryan Hall half-way line interception became four points as he fended off Lee Briers to score. Sinfield turned four to six and we were all squaree at 12-12.

On forty-eight we slipped behind again.

The Rhinos defence made a real hash of trying to diffuse a high bomb and were caught offside. A quick Warrington play-the-ball found its way to King who appeared to be being tackled into touch until Danny McGuire came in with an extra effort and knocked his own players off the winger and he dropped over the line to score. Bridge goaled brilliantly from the touchline for 12-18. My nerves were already shredded.

As the hour mark approached we pulled level again. Burrow was the architect as he broke through the middle of the field, ducking under attempted tackles. He found McGuire in support inside and as Danny got to within ten metres of the line he was caught by two Wolves defenders. Keeping the ball alive he threw it blind over his left shoulder straight into the arms of Ryan Hall who travelled the last ten to score.
Brilliant

Two minutes later and we hit the front for the first time since the fourteenth minute.

A brilliant Webb sidestep and break saw the Rhinos full back move thirty downfield before he passed to the supporting Burrow to cross under the sticks making the Sinfield conversion a formality. It was 24-18 with twenty minutes left. The travelling Rhinos fans were actually starting to believe that we could overcome the odds.

On sixty-eight the Wolves scored again to set up the most nervous of finished I think I have ever witnessed.

Leeds were punished, somewhat harshly, for a knock-on under their own sticks. The Wolves used their tackles to probe left and then right before Riley found a gap to wriggle over. Bridge added the conversion for 24-24.

On seventy-one it looked like the Wolves had won it when King appeared to ground the ball on the line. Ganson went to the video referee who took several watches to determine that it was just short, we celebrated like it was our winning try.

On seventy-five the Rhinos got a penalty on the half-way line and Sinfield elected to go for the two points. He hit the top of the post padding and Warrington scrambled the ball dead to conceed a drop-out. The it looked like the Rhinos had won it as Burrow flung the ball to Ryan Hall to cross for what looked to be his hat-trick. The Rhinos fans went crazy but Ganson put the square in the air and the video referee ruled that Burrow had knocked on picking the ball up.

It looked like it would come down to a drop goal and both sides tried to engineer themselves a chance.

It was the Rhinos in the best position on seventy-eight but as Sinfield kicked the attempt was blocked. The Rhinos gorans turned to cheers as Ganson awarded the Rhinos a penalty for offside, seemingly at the say-so of the touch judge.

Cool captain Kev placed the ball on the tee, took his time, gained his composure and then slotted it between the uprights for a two point lead.

Warrington tried a short kick-off which Leeds claimed and two scrums later they threw the ball into touch with seconds remaining, granting the Rhinos the most incredible of wins.

Leeds were nothing short of sensational. We had seventeen heroes who all played for one another, and we overcame the best team in the competition leaving them with nothing to show for their season except a hub-cap.

It's impossible to pick a man-of-the-match but special credit must go to the skipper who 'kept his head when all about were losing theirs.'. And special mention to Tony Smith, a true gentleman, who shook the hand of every Leeds player as they left the pitch. That is what sportsmanship is all about.

This was simply one of those 'I was there' nights which those of us who shared the experience on the terraces will remember until their dying day!

So....Old Trafford on saturday against the Warriors or the Saints. I simply can't wait. Bring it on!



Match Facts

Rhinos
Wolves
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Webb
1
Hodgson
23
Jones-Bishop
5
Monaghan, J.
1
27
Hardaker
3
King
1
12
Ablett
1
23
Atkins
5
Hall
2
2
Riley
2
13
Sinfield
5
6
Briers
6
McGuire
7
Myler
8
Leuluai
8
Morley
9
Buderus
9
Monaghan. M
10
Peacock
10
Carvell
11
Jones-Buchanan
11
Anderson
3
Delaney
17
Grix
21
Clarkson
4
Bridge
4
17
Kirke
12
Westwood
7
Burrow
1
26
Solomona
16
Bailey
18
Cooper
20
Hauraki
15
Clarke

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
06-12
Referee:
Steve 'Saint' Ganson
Crowd:
12,074


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