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Rampant Rhinos Slay Vikings
Posted by southstander on March 15 2014 - 14:07:44

Returning Brace

Report by: David Bywater

Since their return to Super League, games against Widnes have been viewed as not much more than a training run for the more experienced Leeds Rhino’s side. However the 2014 version of the Widnes side may offer a sterner test. An unbeaten start to the season has seen them topple the Giants, Salford and the hapless London.

Denis Betts appears to have got the formula right with a good mix of experience in Kevin Brown, John Clarke and Danny Tickle combined with exciting youngsters in Joe Mellor, Joe Owens and Paddy Flynn. The Vikings play a quick elusive style reminiscent of early West Tigers under Tim Sheens. Would this agility be too much for the around the ruck for the ageing Leeds forwards?

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38

Rhinos

v

Vikings

04

Superleague XIX - Round 5

14th March 2014

Rampant Rhinos Slay Vikings

The Rhinos would be looking to continue the early season’s solid form. A much improved performance in the draw against the Giants should have given the team a confidence boost going into tonight’s clash. The Rhino’s three-quarter line has been in excellent form and the clash against the young Widnes backs should be one of the highlights of the game.

When the teams were announced Leeds included Ben Jones Bishop who has been unlucky not to be included previously, especially on the back of Ryan Hall’s limited recent impact. Tom Briscoe switched wings to play alongside Joel Moon. Ryan Bailey who missed out last week replaced Brad Singleton. Brett Delanney appears to have recovered from his knock last week however no doubt he will be on his haunches again before the game is complete. Widnes see the recall of the experienced ex Wigan/Hull player Cameron Phelps.

The weather was bound to have an influence; the wind was blowing strongly to such a degree the goal posts and the floodlights were showing considerable sideways movement.

Leeds chose to attack towards the Carneige with a gale at their backs. Joel Moon lasted all of four minutes, a hamstring tear saw him depart the action. Carl Ablett moved to centre, a position he looks like he will be occupying for the next few weeks. Both sides struggled with the blustery conditions none more than Widnes wing Flynn who dropped three high kicks in the first twenty. The deadlock was broken on nineteen minutes with some slick handling to the right with Watkins putting Jones Bishop over for a flying touchdown, Sinfield failed to master the wind with the conversion 4-0 Rhinos.

Five minutes later after Tickle conceded a penalty for a high shot on Burrow Leeds again moved the ball right, Hardaker moved into the line and provided Jones Bishop with the simplest of scoring chances which he duly took. Sinfield converted 10-0 Leeds. Ryan Hall must have been watching on anxiously!!

Widnes then had a period of sustained pressure with Kevin Brown pulling all the strings, his kicking game forced numerous goal line drop outs. The Rhinos held firm showing a commitment and resolve to defence that has typified this season. Jones Buchanan gave away a customary penalty on the Leeds twenty but still the defence held. The only chink was touchdown by Rees from a forward pass from Dean that referee Hicks chalked off. Half time Leeds 10 Widnes 0 still a tight game.

The Rhinos came out with renewed vigour for the second half, winning the ball from the kick off. A piece of Watkins magic saw him score untouched after only two minutes of the half Sinfield converted 16-0 Leeds. Widnes retaliated with some pressure on the Leeds line, a hobbling Delanney struggled to make the defensive line!! Leeds defended resolutely despite some excellent probing kicks from Brown.

Finally after having sat on the bench for 130 minutes Mitch Achurch entered the fray. His impact was immediate he got an offload away to a revitalised Delanney who put Ryan Bailey through for a great try. No naked run for Ryan at the end of the season. The try capped an excellent performance from Bailey who seems to have risen to the challenge for places. 22-0 following the conversion.

The Rhinos were on a roll, two minutes later a superb move saw Watkins in space feed Jones Bishop who in turn through a long pass to his captain who scored untouched on the right. The conversion was missed 26-0 Rhinos.

Twenty minutes into the second half Leeds scored the best try of the game - Sinfield to McGuire to Burrow who scored under the sticks. Anyone would have thought these guys had played together before!! Sinfield converted 32-0.

Eight minutes later McGuire kicked through for Jones Buchanan to score conversion tagged on 38-0. Watkins put McGuire through into open space for what would have been a certain score a few years ago, sadly Danny’s speed is not what it was and the scrambling defence stopped a further score. Rhys Hanbury touched down for a consolation try with two minutes to final score 38-4.

The game was watched by a crowd of over fourteen thousand on a bitterly cold night. The Rhinos were very good on the night and Widnes were not as bad as the score might suggest. Whilst the tries were great the defence was very impressive especially towards the end of the game when the outcome was no longer in doubt. Sinfield was superb tonight and my MOM with great performances from Watkins, Delaney, Bailey and Jones Bishop. Last but not least Robert Hicks allowed the game to flow in testing weather conditions.

Many thanks to David for the match report.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Vikings
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
Hardaker
Hanbury
1
Jones-Bishop
2
Flynn
Watkins
1
Phelps
Moon
Dean
Briscoe
Owens
McGuire
Brown
Sinfield
1
5
Mellor
Leuluai
Gerrard
Burrow
1
Clarke
Peacock
Clough
Ablett
Galea
Ward
Tickle
Delaney
Leuluai
Aiton
Kavanagh
Jones-Buchanan
1
White
Achurch
Isa
Bailey
1
Lloyd

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
10-00
Referee:
Robert Hicks
Crowd:
14,413


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