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Consolidating Fourth
Posted by southstander on August 11 2013 - 13:36:16

Captain Fantastic

By Phil Caplan

The next cab is off the Rhinos rank, departing from a venue that is among the most favoured for Leeds travelling fans.

17-year-old back rower Elliot Minchella, after less than a full season in the Academy ranks, became the sixth teenager to don the first team colours in 2013, contributing the last of seven tries in a comfortable 42-16 triumph at the City Reds.

Over half of the total amount of those who have become Academy graduates in Super League XVIII have come from Leeds and Wigan, the blue and amber matching the number at the DW. The result, coupled with the Warriors’ defeat at home to Huddersfield, means that the Rhinos can catch Wigan for third spot, making their round 27 clash a potential shootout to decide who goes to the Giants or Warrington in the first round of the play offs.

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

42

Rhinos

v

Reds

16

Superleague XVIII - Round 24

9th August 2013

Consolidating Fourth

Considering the seemingly endless injury run – Joel Moon and Brett Delaney added to the pre-match casualty list and Ryan Bailey still absent – that represents some achievement. There was further consternation on the way over, Ryan Hall until then Super League’s current highest consecutive appearance maker, going down with a sickness virus on the bus, necessitating another late change.

Liam Sutcliffe, who was earmarked for loose forward, enabling skipper Kevin Sinfield to move from hooker back to stand off, was forced to start on the wing, Brad Singleton locking the pack and Alex Foster, who had been expected to be rested after his London post collision, a late call up.

Jimmy Keinhorst started in the centre but the treatment table will creak further after he suffered a dislocated shoulder 12 minutes from time.

The last time Leeds lost at Salford, was three years before Minchella was born and, although Brian Noble’s men – also taking a look at the next generation – kept the Rhinos honest, there was seldom a hint that a shock would be on the cards.

With Carl Ablett prominent from a break in the opening attack, Zak Hardaker again making over 200 metres from the back and Rob Burrow a midfield force field, Leeds had too much potency and speed, especially out wide.

It took 19 minutes for Leeds to post the first points, Sutcliffe having been bundled into touch as an initial warning, and Salford’s game pack - with Jake Emmitt to the fore - commendable early. Burrow exploited a charge out of the home line by darting through the hole and feeding Sutcliffe who was patrolling nearer the middle and although he appeared to have done enough to go over himself, he selflessly passed on to Kallum Watkins who was free in the corner to go over on his ‘home’ ground.

Kevin Sinfield, in his 400th Super League appearance, duly converted on an evening in which he was again to prove faultless with the boot, leaving a point away from 3,000 in the competition. Again exploiting the right, Sinfield and Hardaker prized an opening, Watkins made hay pushing through the line and breaking clear, Hardaker taking the return and mesmerising Lee Gaskell, turning him inside and out for a glorious score soon after.

Ex-Rhino Ashley Gibson gave the City Reds some hope as he latched on to a spilled Mark Sneyd bomb, Stephen Wild providing the duress on Ben Jones-Bishop, the try coming as the fans were commemorating Linzi Ashton with a minute’s applause, the Leeds following earning praise for joining in.

The difference between the sides was emphasised on the next away set, Burrow’s blistering scoot from close on 40 metres out without a hand laid on him indicative of the imbalance. Five minutes later, Burrow’s exquisite ‘no look’ pass sent the deserving Ablett over and the visitors were comfortable at 24-6 in front at the break.

Five minutes into the second period that was extended, Ablett twisting and ducking his way clear to feed the prolific Jones-Bishop for his eighth try since his return the same number of weeks before.

Salford, prompted by Theo Fages and with youngsters Adam and Jordan Walne revelling, then enjoyed their best spell as the dropped ball which had plagued Leeds early on returned in the face of some determined home defence.

Gaskell with a lovely gliding run up the middle returned the earlier compliment to Hardaker with a picture effort, Sneyd missing the goal from out wide and, just after the hour, following a fine cover tackle by Richard Moore to keep out the Reds full back, Leeds hit cruelly on the counter.

Salford spilt possession on the visiting quarter, Gaskell hacked on and Sutcliffe gathered to motor clear.

Niall Evalds gave chase but Sutcliffe’s inside pass was beautifully judged for Watkins to race away for his second.

Fages gained due reward following a run-around with Stephen Wild, Gaskell goaling, but Leeds had the final say with their seventh touchdown.

Fittingly, it went to Minchella, who eagerly put his hand up to take a drive on the last with six minutes remaining and forced his way over in front of the Leeds fans behind the posts to end a satisfying evening.

Both coaches commented that the final margin flattered the Rhinos but they were seldom troubled in extending their winning run to four games.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Reds
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Hardaker
1
6
Gaskell
1
1
2
Jones-Bishop
1
25
Evalds
3
Watkins
2
3
Gibson
1
22
Keinhorst
23
McGoldrick
26
Sutcliffe
5
Williams
13
Sinfield
7
22
Sneyd
1
7
Burrow
1
21
Fages
1
8
Leuluai
8
Jewitt
9
McShane
24
Owen
10
Peacock
36
Emmitt
12
Ablett
1
26
Hope
18
Clarkson
12
Dixon
23
Singleton
13
Wild
21
Moore
35
Walne A.
17
Kirke
29
Walne J.
30
Foster
39
Davies
31
Minchella
1
38
Davidson

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
06-24
Referee:
George Stokes
Crowd:
3,235


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