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Leeds Rhinos: World Champions
Posted by southstander on February 18 2012 - 00:07:02

Top of the World
The best of British took on the NRL champions in the Headingley War of the Worlds. Manly were not here to make up the numbers and had a full strength squad that had been in the UK acclimatising for over a week as they looked to take the silverware back to Australia for the fourth year running.

All that stood in their was were last years surprise Super League Champions as two time previous winners, Leeds Rhinos.

We were in for a corker, and Headingley was filled almost to the rafters with people who wanted to witness one of the true Rugby League spectacles.

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

26

Rhinos

v

Sea Eagles

12

World Club Challenge

17th February 2012

Triple World Champions

Brian McDermott decided, once again, that Weller Hauraki is not to be trusted in the major games and he lost his place. Injury to Lee Smith let Ben Jones-Bishop back in the side and Watkins had recovered from the knock which saw him miss the trip to Wigan last saturday. Ian Kirke was named in the squad for the first time this season but also missed out, as the Rhinos lined up 1 to 13 squad numbers with the exception of McShane (9) on the bench and Delaney (15) in the second row. The visitors were also at full strength and came to Headingley determined that they would be the ones to leave with the spoils.

From the opening few minutes it was clear that we were going to be in for a humdinger. The initial hits were ferocious, vicious, and relentless as both teams tried to batter one another out of the game. The Rhinos had the best of the opening salvos but couldn't make it over the Sea Eagles line as Manly put in an awesome defensive effort. On the occasions that Manly did launch an attack the Rhinos defence showed that they were too up to it.

The intensity was something that we don't often see in the British game, it was sensational to witness.

It was the Rhinos who broke the deadlock on nineteen, thanks to a Klein penalty awarded to Ryan Bailey after a second effort kept him grounded in the tackle. Leeds gained good ground from the kick and attacking hit-ups, before a neat Sinfield pass found Webb who passed a short ball to an oncoming Watkins who went through a gap and scored without the defence putting a hand on him. Sinfield slotted the extras and a packed Headingley turned the volume up a notch. The atmosphere was sensational and it was already starting to rattle the cage of Headingley hate figure, Saints reject Jamie Lyon.


Two Tries
The Rhinos increased their lead on twenty-eight, and this time it was out of the blue.

Manly were on the attack and an equalising score seemed inevitable when a Brett Stewart pass to the wing was brilliantly intercepted by Ryan Hall, his back foot on his own line. He juggled the ball for a split second and then pinned back his ears to got the length of the pitch and score next to the posts making the Sinfield conversion for 12-0 a formality.

The Rhinos had a sensational twelve point lead and it was no less that we'd deserved. We were bossing the NRL champions.

On thirty-four Ashley Klein threw the visitors a lifeline.

After what looked like a simple Manly knock-on some twenty out from the Rhinos sticks, Klein called ball steal and awarded the visitors a penalty. As the video replay was demonstrating the harshness of the decision, the Sea Eagles took a quick tap and as Leeds missed their first tackle of the night Brett Stewart was allowed to walk over for a simple score. The boos didn;t put Lyon off as he added the extras.

Three minutes later, and three minutes from the interval, Leeds once again stretched their lead.

A pin-point cross-field Sinfield kick on the last was plucked beautifully from the air by a flying Ryan hall who spun as he landed and dropped over the line for his second of the night. Sinfield failed with the conversion but if you'd offered us a 16-6 half-time lead before kick-off we'd have snapped your hand off.

The Rhinos had the best of the first half and were faster, more aggressive, and more imaginative than I'd seem them for seasons. Both sides were putting on an excellent show. You felt that the next score would be critical. If it was the Rhinos it would kill the game, but if it was Manly then it was game on!

Within three minutes of the restart the Rhinos lost Jamie Jones-Buchanan with what looked like a knee injury and it took some re-organising. On fifty-one Cherry-Evans found space to run the angle and stretch to score after a couple of fast play-the-balls had earned good yards. Lyon kicked the conversion to narrow the lead to 16-12 and it really was game on.

On the hour mark it looked like Manly were in again but the try was chalked off by the video referee for interference, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief. But what followed was a Manly onslaught.

Since the restart the Sea Eagles had stepped up a gear and it seemed like only a matter of time before they would breach the Rhinos defence and take the lead, but somehow our brave lads kept them at bay, halting wave after wave of attack and increasingly frustrating the Australians.

A massive defensive effort weathered a thirty minute storm, and with the visitors broken and frustrated we made them pay as we took over the last ten minutes.


Last one

On seventy-six the Rhinos got a second set after a kick-through found a blocking Sea Eagles boot. McShane went close from dummy half and from the next play-the-ball the passing went right with Burrow finding Watkins whos pass forced Jones-Bishop to pick up off his shoe-laces and score in the corner. Sinfield hit the upright with the conversion but the game seemed won at 20-12.

The icing on the cake came with two minutes remaining and a Sinfield grubber bounced awkwardly for the defence, but brilliantly for Ablett who accepted the invitation to collect the ball unchallanged and ground. Sinfields' extras made it 26-12 and record a comprehensive victory to see the Rhinos crowned as the best team in the World for the third time.

This was a massive game of great intensity and passion and it was out lads who showed that they had the heart and stamina to win and lift the trophy aloft.

It would be difficult to pick out any individuals in what was a fabulous team effort, the lads must be as proud of themselves as we were of them on the terraces. It was a massive game, and a massive win, and on home soil at HQ, possibly the sweetest victory of the three that we've recorded.

Ashley Klein tried his best to spoil the occasion with some howlers in both directions, and frustration almost boiled over in the second half which could easily have seen him lose it. He wasn't up to the standard of the game. One final mention for Jamie Lyon, winner of the 'whinge like Lee Briers' award. Expect your dummy in the post some time soon Jamie.

What a great night for the Rhinos, and to be a Rhinos supporter. This is what it is all about. This is why we support Leeds.

Leeds Rhinos - World Champions.


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


Match Facts

Rhinos
Sea Eagles
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Webb
1
Stewat, B.
1
2
Jones-Bishop
1
2
Williams, D.
3
Watkins
1
3
Lyon
2
4
Hardaker
4
Matai
5
Hall
2
5
Oldfield
13
Sinfield
3
6
Foran
6
McGuire
7
Cherry-Evans
1
8
Leuluai
8
King
7
Burrow
9
Ballin
10
Peacock
10
Kite
11
Jones-Buchanan
11
Watmough
15
Delaney
12
Williams, T.
12
Ablett
1
13
Stewart, G.
9
McShane
14
Buhrer
16
Bailey
15
Mauro
18
Clarkson
16
Lussick
20
Griffin
17
Rose

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
16-06
Referee:
Ashley Klein
Crowd:
21,062


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