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Outmuscled at Manchester Magic
Posted by southstander on May 18 2014 - 08:53:15

Saint and Sinner

It had been an afternoon of close finishes, some great tries, some shocking errors and a few moments of controversy but now the stage was set for the main feature.

Top of the league against the defending Champions in a Saturday night humdinger and as the suns rays left the stadium the atmosphere grew and over thirty-thousand die-hard rugby league fans anticipated the clash of the titans. They wouldn't be disappointed as a blood and thunder encounter out of the top drawer unfolded before their eyes.

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

14

Rhinos

v

Warriors

18

Superleague XIX - Round 13
Manchester Magic

17th May 2014

Outmuscled at Manchester Magic

The Rhinos were without Watkins through illness (the new codeword for 'rotated' at Headingley) but surprisingly Tom Briscoe also found himself sitting out the game as Liam Sutcliffe was called into the centres. There were no other surprises in the Rhinos line-up, except perhaps for Ablett being named at hooker. The Warriors have been hit hard by early season injuries and were forced into further changes and the introduction of more youngsters, but it was clear from the outset that Shaun Wane had done a great job of pumping up his side.

The early hits were ferocious from both sides and it was clear that we were in for a bruiser.

Hardaker appeared to have opened the scoring on twelve minutes but referee Thaler, about to play a pivotal role in the game, denied the Rhinos full back after ruling that the final pass had been forward and two minutes later it was the cherry & whites who took the lead. A kick to the corner from Smith saw Gelling get to the ball first, knock it forward, and then regain the ball before it touched the ground or a Leeds player. He stumbled two metres to the line and grounded despite the attentions of Hardaker. Smith kicked the two.

On nineteen the Warriors added another two points to their score after Ablett interfered at the play-the-ball and Smith kicked the penalty. But this had all been the appetiser before the main event.

On twenty-three all hell broke loose.


Brace
After passing the ball deep inside the Warriors twenty, Danny McGuire was hit late, very late, by Gil Dudson. Dudsons only intent was to cause injury to the Rhinos half-back as he shoulder-charged him in the back several seconds after the ball had been passed. Thaler blew the whistle as the Leeds enforcers came in to exact their own justice. After splitting the sides Thaler simply had a word with Dudson and then lectured the captains warning them to tell their players not to get involved. It was a yellow at the least for Dudson, and possibly a red, for nothing short of thuggery. It was clear from the players attitudes that a few 'words' were not a suitable conclusion.

At the next play the ball Peacock ran at the Warriors defence and was almost decapitated by McIlorum. The melee that ensued involved all twenty-six players and resulted in the sin-binnings of McIlorum, Bateman and Leeds' Bailey. The Warriors captain was lucky not to have seen red for a challenge no better than one which had seen Hulls Crookes sent off by Richard Silverwood in the previous match.

With the Warriors down to eleven the Rhinos made the extra player count and on twenty-seven they crossed after an Ablett ball anong the ground was expertly picked up by Hall and scored in the corner. Sinfield failed to add the extras and the Rhinos trailed 4-8.

As the sin-binned players returned it looked like the Rhinos would ride the storm and take a four point deficit into the interval but with a couple of minutes left in the half we dropped our concentration and let Green throw a dummy and cross in the left hand corner. Smith hit the post with his conversion attempt but the Warriors took a 4-12 lead out of the first forty.

The second half was fifteen minutes old when the Warriors struck again. Ablett gave away another daft penalty and after using five tackles McIlorum, lucky to be on the field after his first half antics, spun over to score under the sticks and made Smith's conversion a simple one for 4-18. It was now a long way back for the Rhinos.

With twenty-two minutes left on the clock the Rhinos showed that they'd not given up as a cross-field run by Hardaker allowed him to put Ablett through a gap and the sinner turned saint as he went over and rounded behind the sticks to make the Sinfield conversion a formality.

Five minutes later and we were back within a score as the fightback was well and truly on.

A moment of Moon magic saw him draw three defenders before an over the top offload to Hall to dive in at the corner for his second. Sinfield missed the extras but it was game-on.


Enforcer

WIth three minutes remaining it looked like the Rhinos had snatched a famous victory. A Sinfield kick to the corner appeared to be tapped forward, re-gathered, and scored by Joel Moon but the referee refered oy for video scrutiny and after multiple viewing the try was ruled out for having touched a Wigan player before being regathered. Rather than having a Sinfield kick to win the match, the video referee had given the game to the Warriors by the narrowest of margins.

Wigan came with a game play, to rattle the Rhinos, and they stuck to it and got the points. Their tactics were 'close to the edge of legal' but they rattled the Rhinos and forced us into some silly mistakes which ultimately cost us the game. Weak refereeing by Thaler allowed the cherry & whites to finish the game with thirteen players, when arguably it should have been eleven or, at best, twelve. Our great games reputation was slightly bruised for allowing Wigan 'thuggery' to prosper.

Both sides scored three tries, but with Sinfield converting just one of his three attempts, it was the goal-kicking that proved the difference.

I am sure that the disciplinary committee will have a very busy Tuesday evening, and I would expect that a number of Wigan players (including Dudson and McIlorum), and possibly one or two Rhinos (Bailey), will be facing a few games on the sidelines as a result.

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
1
Hardaker
1
Bowen
2
Jones-Bishop
31
Manfredi
21
Sutcliffe
23
Sargison
4
Moon
5
Gelling
1
5
Hall
2
32
Burgess
6
McGuire
6
Green
1
13
Sinfield
1
7
Smith
3
8
Leuluai
8
Taylor
12
Ablett
1
27
Williams
10
Peacock
16
Dudson
18
Clarkson
14
Hughes
19
Achurch
25
Bateman
15
Delaney
9
McIlorum
1
16
Bailey
3
Goulding
21
Sutcliffe
17
Crosby
17
Kirke
19
Powell
23
Singleton
37
Sutton

Kick Off:
19:15
Half-Time:
4-12
Referee:
Ben Thaler
Crowd:
36,339


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