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Uncomfortably Close
Posted by southstander on July 19 2013 - 23:33:24

Two Tries

Unbeaten in their last four outings the Wildcats were never going to be a walkover as the Rhinos embarked on the first of a Wakefield double-header in front of a packed Headingley on a balmy summers evening.

Mercifully the temperature had dropped in the hour to kick-off. We welcomed back Brett Delaney to the side after a months absence, but we were still without many injured first teamers.

The bookies were giving the visitors little change of winning, but many Rhinos fans would leave the ground at the end of the match wondering just how it had ended with such a narrow winning margin.

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

20

Rhinos

v

Wildcats

18

Superleague XVIII - Round 22

19th July 2013

Uncomfortably Close

The opening twenty minutes made for a great spectacle...as good a spectacle as is possible without any tries.

The Rhinos seemed to have benefitted from a weekend off and had a spring in their step, and some new moves direct from the training field to frustrate and bewilder the opposition. We probed and poked and prodded but somehow the Wildcats defence held us out and as the half wore on we seemed to become increasingly desperate and our early finess and flair gave way to a slog.

Om twenty-four we finally broke the deadlock when a passing move to the right found Ben Jones-Bishop on the overlap to ground one handed by the corner flag. Zak Hardaker hoped to perform better with the boot than he had on his last outing in Warrington, but embarassingly failed to get anywhere near the target with his conversion attempt.


Strong
Three minutes later and Wakefield struck back, on their first real attack, and thanks to some sloppy Leeds defence.

A grubber on the last went into the Leeds in-goal and as Watkins tried to hack it dead he hoofed it under our sticks where it bounced off a crowd of players and was grounded by Raleigh for the visitors. I'm not sure what a video referee would have made of it, but we didn't have one and Bentham gave the try which was easily converted by ex-Rhino Lee Smith.

From a position of total dominance we were somehow behind, it was nothing short of baffling.

On the half-hour we re-established a lead that we'd carry to half time thanks to a sensational pinpoint accurate kick from Liam Sutcliffe which found a leaping Ben Jones-Bishop who fell over the line for the four pointer. To spare further Hardaker blushes it was Burrow who stepped up to take the conversion and slipped it between the posts for 10-6.

It would be twenty-five minutes before the next points, but they were worth the wait. A lovely long pass from Burrow found Joel Moon who danced around two Wildcats defenders on his way to the line. Burrow failed to convert but it was a more comfortable looking 14-6.

On sixty-five the injury curse struck again as Watkins, only a few weeks back from a long injury, was helped from the field with a knee or ankle problem and two minutes later another ex-Southtand favourite Ali Lauitiiti went over off a pass that looked suspiciously forward. Smith kicked the two and the gap was back to just two at 14-12.

With five minutes to go it seemed that the Rhinos had sealed the points when a cross-field kick from Burrow bounced off Peter Fox's head and into the arms of a grateful Ryan Hall to drop over the line and score. When Burrow kicked the extras for 20-12 we all breathed a sigh of relief.


Another Great Game

But the Wildcats weren't finished with us.

Straight from a short kick-off the Wildcats blitzed us and Mariano crashed over with 120 seconds left on the clock. A quick Smith conversion again narrowed the gap to two points at 20-18 and set up a nailbiting last act.

Leeds kick-off was a good one and fumbled in goal by the Wildcats defence who allowed it to leave the field of play and force a drop-out. All credit to the visitors who took a short drop-out and seemed the regain possession but when Bentham ruled that they had knocked on the Rhinos had just thirty seconds to run down on the clock, which they did with just four tackles.

This was far tighter than it should have been. We dominated the game but couldn't convert position and possession into points, an all too familiar problem.

There were some big performances from the likes of Moon, Sutcliffe, Burrow, Peacock and Ablett, but we really do need to get our kicking sorted out. Two nice 40-20's from Sutcliffe and Burrow were a surprise but ultimately came to nothing, but at least we seem to have discovered the rule.

We're back over to the Wildcats next Friday for the re-arranged game and I expect that it will be just as tough as this was.

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


Match Facts

Rhinos
Wildcats
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Hardaker
1
Mathers
2
Jones-Bishop
2
2
Fox
3
Watkins
20
Lyne
4
Moon
1
4
Smith L.
3
5
Hall
1
5
Cockayne
26
Sutcliffe
13
Washbrook
7
Burrow
2
7
Smith T.
17
Kirke
8
Poore
9
McShane
9
Aiton
10
Peacock
15
Amor
12
Ablett
17
Mariano
1
18
Clarkson
12
Kirmond
23
Singleton
18
Trout
21
Moore
11
Lauitiiti
1
22
Keinhorst
10
Raleigh
1
15
Delaney
16
Wilkes
30
Foster
21
Wildie

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
10-06
Referee:
Phil Bentham
Crowd:
18,387


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