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Leeds Lucky to Limp Past Leigh
Posted by southstander on June 07 2014 - 11:41:58

Brilliant

By David Bywater

Leeds take a break from the weekly grind of Super League and this week take on Championship side Leigh in the much maligned Challenge Cup. Last week Leeds were dismantled by a very effective Warrington side. This “easier” game should give the side the opportunity to return to the structures and processes that had proved so successful earlier in the season.

Much has been made of Zak Hardaker’s non PC outburst last week, hopefully the public apology will suffice and everyone can move on. Zak is an exceptional player - on form a possible contender for Man of Steel - but he needs to mature as a man with some haste.

We bring you all the action......

25

Rhinos

v

Leigh

12

Challenge Cup - Round 6

6th June 2014

Leeds Lucky to Limp Past Leigh

Leigh are having a stellar season in the Championship - unbeaten this season - they would have been looking forward in anticipation to pitting their wits against one of the top sides in SL. In Paul Rowley they have one of the best young coaches in the country. He has fashioned a side with both strong go forward and defence in the forwards and flair and technique in the backs.

Following the increase in the salary cap in the NRL clubs in Super League have found it increasingly difficult to afford talent from down under. Recruitment focus has switched to the championship with some notable surprises: Alex Walmsley at Saints, Chris Hill at Warrington and most recently Liam Finn at Castleford. Many are tipping Ryan Brierley to be next. All eyes would be on him tonight to see how he matched up against Liam Sutcliffe.

McDermott resisted the opportunity to make wholesale changes following last week’s debacle. Two forced, Ablett and Achurch and one tactical McGuire, were the headline changes and a debut for young Josh Walters. Leeds have given the competition the gravitas its history deserves unlike Keighley the night before. Paul March is one strange cookie!! Must be tough coaching a side you never get to watch live!!

In pleasant conditions Leeds kicked off towards a well populated Western Terrace - Leigh have travelled in numbers - as has become the norm these days. An early inside pass from Sutcliffe saw Hardaker break the line but good scrambling defence from Leigh stopped the move. A few minutes later an identical move saw the ball moved to Hall try, Sinfield converted 6-0 Leeds.

On the back of a couple of penalties Leigh experienced a period of sustained pressure. This led to a move in front of the Leeds posts, a soft pass from Brierley saw Spencer swat off Bailey and Hardaker to score, Ridyard converted 6-6 game on.


Opener
Sinfield kicked out on the full from the restart - just one of a very disappointing night for the captain. In the next set Leigh kept the ball alive with some inventive play which resulted in Armstrong touching down untouched in the corner, Ridyard converted again 12-6 Leigh - game really on.

For the next twenty minutes the ball moved from end to end. Leigh had equal ball and in Ridyard they had the most creative player on the field. Sutcliffe had a try chalked off when Thaler saw an obstruction only visible to him. On thirty minutes Leeds worked the ball down the left and a play from Sutcliffe saw the ball run loose over the line - Stevie Ward was first on the scene to touch down, Sinfield converted 12-12.

The score remained even until half time and to be honest it would be difficult to tell which team was second in Super League. Leigh were very good value for the scoreline. Excellent contest if the not highest quality slightly marred by the number of strange obstruction decisions.

The second half started in explosive fashion when Sarsfield butted Peacock in the tackle - Peacock understandably took offence with his right hand into Sarsfield’s head. Both were sin binned for ten minutes.

Leigh continued in the positive fashion and had the better of the play but for a desperate Sinfield tackle on Wilkes with the line beckoning Leigh would have been a further six in front. The worry for Leeds fans is the number of simple mistakes - Watkins in particular - the team is making - what is wrong with the Rhinos? Leigh are contributing much to an absorbing contest.

In to the final quarter all to play for. There has been no score for over thirty minutes, finally the deadlock is broken. To the relief of the Rhinos fans it was a scoot from Robbie Ward under the sticks, Sinfield converts 18-12 Leeds. In the next set Leeds showed Leigh a huge compliment when Sinfield converted a drop goal 19-12 Leeds. Leigh now need two scores to get level.


Brilliant Bad Boy

The final score in the game came from a Peacock - my MOM - break onto Hardaker who ran untouched to the line, Sinfield converted final score 25-12 Leeds.

All congratulations go to Leigh who, to a man, gave it everything they had. They were a credit to their coach and to their fans. As for Leeds the less said the better. Poor in every aspect - in part due to Leigh’s tenacity and high performance level. Leeds lacked focus, too many players failed to do the basics and the lack of desire was obvious for all to see. This was a game where the likes of Bailey and Kirke could stretch their legs sadly neither felt inclined to get out of first gear. Creatively Leeds were abysmal neither half back offered much in the way of direction. It will have been a difficult week after the Warrington game but a huge improvement is required over the coming weeks if the current standing in the league is to be maintained.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Leigh
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Hardaker
1
1
McNally
2
Briscoe
2
Pownell
3
Watkins
3
Higson
4
Moon
4
Armstrong
1
5
Hall
1
5
Kay
6
Sinfield
4
1
6
Ridyard
2
7
Sutcliffe
7
Brierley
8
Leuluai
8
Spencer
1
9
Ward. R
1
9
Pencywicz
10
Peacock
10
Wilkes
11
Ward. S
1
11
Sarsfield
12
Delaney
12
Haggerty
13
Bailey
13
Barlow
14
singleton
14
Beswick
15
Kirke
15
Emmitt
16
Clarkson
16
Goulden
17
Walters
17
Duffy

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
12-12
Referee:
Ben Thaler
Crowd:
7,145


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