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Oh What a Night!
Posted by southstander on September 29 2012 - 00:14:58

MoM by Miles
All the pre-game hype had been about the absence of McGuire, suspended after a careless tackle last week. Wane and 'Ratboy' Tomkins had told the media that they expected him to get a ban, and the disciplinary duly obliged. But perhaps there was some divine justice.

No-one really gave us a chance, the bookies, the pundits, and particularly the Wigan supporters. Then, in the middle of the afternoon, news started to filter through that Tomkins had failed a late fitness test after picking up an injury in the win over the Catalans a fortnight ago, and all of a sudden the playing field seemed to level.

It looked like we were in for a corker, and after eighty minutes of high octane top class rugby league we were left breathless.

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

13

Rhinos

v

Warriors

12

Grand Final - Elimination Semi-Final

28th September 2012

Oh What a Night!

The absence of McGuire saw Burrow at scrum-half and Lunt back starting as hooker, with prodigy Stevie Ward warming the bench. Kylie Leuluai was back and raring to go after his suspension last week, and McDermott surely needed very little to motivate a side who knew that they could take the game to the Warriors and claim the prize of a fifth trip to Old Trafford in six years.

The opening exchanges were just what we expected, no quarter asked or given by either side, and we spend most of the opening quarter of an hour in the centre of the field as the forwards dominated.


Leeds Only Try
It was the Warriors who mounted the first real concerted attack deep in the Rhinos half and on thirteen it looked like they might go over in the left corner. A careless pass went to ground and Watkins picked up the stray ball, pinned back his ears, and went ninety-five metres to score by the posts. The home fans were silenced as the two-thousand plus Rhinos fans who had braved the M62 went barmy. Sinfield added the extras and we'd the lead we craved, somewhat fortuitously.

What followed was twenty minutes of smart rugby.

We knew that we we were struggling to break through a steadfast Warriors defence so skipper Sinfield took the points wherever he could.

On twenty he kicked a penalty from wide on the thirty after Hansen kicked out at the play-the-ball. Four minutes later and another made it 10-0, this time after Wigan were offside in defence. And more than a few heads were scratched on thirty-one when following a great ground gaining run by Hardaker, Sinfield slid over a drop goal from twenty-five metres out for 11-0.

And that was the scoreline that we took into half time, from as good a half of rugby as we've seen from the Rhinos this season, particularly in defence. But we knew that Wigan weren't done and that they'd be back at us in the second forty.

The second half was just a minute old and Wigan on their first attack when a crabbing run from Leuluai put Hansen over for a walkover try. Rhinos minds still in the dressing room?

On forty-nine a spiraling Sinfield bomb was knocked on by the inexperienced Murphy and five plays later it looked like Burrow had crossed for a try, but the video referee judged that the ball was knocked loose by a Wigan knee before Burrow grounded it and the score remained at 11-6.

On the hour mark, and after Silverwood started to show his true colours in penalising the Rhinos for knock-ons when the ball was stripped by Wigan players (three times), repeated sets in the Rhinos half allowed Richards to find an overlap on the left and slide over in the corner. He converted brilliantly from the touchline and it was the Warriors fans turn to go wild.

The clock continued to run down, and it seemed as though the Rhinos may run out of time to get the winning points.

With four minutes left another tester for Murphy from the boot of Sinfield found the youngster out of his depth again and he gifted the Rhinos possession ten metres from his line. The Rhinos used their tackles before a dart from Burrow saw him tackled high just ten from the posts and in front of the sticks.


Mesmerising Hardaker

The Entire Rhinos crowd held up two fingers, as if the skipper really needed telling, and cool as you like Sinfield kicked the two to give the Rhinos a 13-12 lead. A number of Wigan players had stood in front of the posts and the time it took for Silverwood to get them back behind the posts ultimately cost them.

Wigan threw everything into the last three minutes, including a desperate Leuluai attempted drop goal to level the scores, but the Rhinos managed to run down the clock for a famous victory and a second against-all-odd semi final win over the Warriors in 2012.

This was a great team performance, orchestrated by Kevin Sinfield who had one of his best ever games in the Blue & Amber. The forwards were massive, and the backs steady and dependable. We minimised the stupid penalties and got away with just a handful of handling errors.

Wigan expected to win, and they, along with their supporters will be devastated. But there can surely be no argument, the best team won. That is why we are a Champion team, and this is what we do.

It was one of those nights that you'll always remember, and I had a tear in my eye at the final hooter just as I has at this stage last season when we beat the Wolves to get to Old Trafford.

Enjoy your winter Wigan, chokers again, and polish that meaningless hub-cap. We'll all wait for the Wane and Ratboy whinging to start because we're sure that they will both think it so unfair!

Old Trafford here we come, and I don't really care who we'll be playing, but I suspect it will be Saints.

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
4
Hardaker
35
Murphy
2
Jones-Bishop
2
Charnley
3
Watkins
1
3
Goulding
12
Ablett
4
Carmont
5
Hall
5
Richards
1
2
13
Sinfield
4
1
6
Finch
7
Burrow
7
Leuluai
10
Peacock
14
Lima
31
Lunt
13
O'Loughlin
8
Leuluai
10
Mossop
11
Jones-Buchanan
11
Hansen
1
15
Delaney
12
Hock
16
Bailey
16
Farrell
25
Ward
21
Lauaki
20
Griffin
38
Smith
17
Kirke
23
Flower
18
Clarkson
26
Hughes

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
11-00
Referee:
Richard Silverwood
Crowd:
12,344


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