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Rhinos End Fifteen Years of Hurt
Posted by southstander on August 24 2014 - 09:13:56

At Last!

What a funny old game.

When the Rhinos took on the Tigers just over a month ago at Headingley, Leeds skipper had the ignimony of seeing the first red card of his career for a head-butt which resulted in a two game suspension. Today, against the same opposition he had the honour of leading his side to their first Challenge Cup win since 1999 and lifting aloft the world famous trophy.

This was the one that meant so much to the lads, the last medal in their personal trophy cabinets to complete full sets. But it also means so much to the club and the fans, this was the one we've been waiting for and after six long journeys home as losers, this one felt so good to be a winner.

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

23

Rhinos

v

Tigers

10

Tetley's Challenge Cup Final

Wembley Stadium

23rd August 2014

Rhinos End Fifteen Years of Hurt

Despite the bookies having made the Rhinos firm favourites, few Rhinos fans would have shared their confidence. We'd been to Challenge Cup Finals so many times and gone home with nothing, our fear defied logic, we were all carrying that Challenge Cup monkey.

The atmosphere was electric as the game kicked off. We needed an early try to settle the nerves and mercifully it took just four minutes until we had it.

Lynch lost the ball on his own thirty metre line and Leeds used the gifted possession to drive well towards the Tigers line. A Danny McGuire grubber was good enough to earn the Rhinos a second set and when Leeds then moved the ball to the right Watkins put Briscoe through on the overlap to score in the corner. The Rhinos fans went wild, the Cas fans feared the worst.

Sinfield converted brilliantly from the touchline, he'd brought his kicking boots with him, and we'd had the dream start.

A lapse of concentration let the Tigers back in on twelve when a Sneyd grubber was collected by Clark who shrugged off Hardaker to score. Sneyd missed what looked like a simple kick for the accomplished goal-kicker and the Rhinos held a slender two point lead.


Brilliant McGuire
Five minutes later and the Blue & Amber's extended the lead thanks to a precision high kick by Burrow which was collected by a flying McGuire after the Tigers full-back Dorn made an awful attempt to catch. McGuire dived over the line in one movement and celebrated like he'd already won the cup.

Sinfields conversion was far more straightforward than his first and he slotted it over with ease.

On twenty-five we increased the lead even further as we dominated both position and possession, and it was a try wich came from nothing thanks to the magic of Zak Hardaker.

Collecting a kick almost on his own line, Hardaker shrugged off the attempted tackles and got over the half-way line before being hauled to the ground. A fast play-the-ball meant that the Tigers were trying to defend with broken lines and with a couple of tackles left in the bank Hall somehow managed to muscle his way over the line to score, despite the attentions of a couple of Tigers defenders. This time Sinfield missed the conversion but we'd grabbed a 16-4 lead which we'd carry to the interval.

It had been an 'almost perfect' first half for the Rhinos, and a nightmare for the Tigers. We'd dropped no ball, given away just a single penalty, and had played an impeccible kicking game from the halves. The only issue was that we'd not established a bigger lead, and we all hoped that wouldn't come back to haunt us in the second half.

The first score of the second half would determine whether we were in for a comfortable win or a white knuckle ride. Sadly it went to the Tigers and set up a nailbiter.

With the second half just six minutes old Shenton broke down the left and found Holmes who ran the angle and scored under the sticks making the Finn conversion a formality. The Tigers, after being dominated for the entire first half, were back within a score at 16-10 and it was game on.

Twenty nervous minutes elapsed before the Rhinos could strike the fatal blow, and the score which won the Cup was thanks to excellent work from Jones-Buchanan and Bailey who dragged Dorn back over his own line and forced a drop-out.

Once again the Rhinos saviour was Ryan Hall who shrugged off two tackles before dragging two more tacklers over the line with him before he grounded out wide. Sinfield kicked the conversion in off both uprights for 22-10 and we'd got one hand on the trophy.

Despite picking up a rib injury on seventy-two, it would be Danny McGuire who iced the Rhinos Challenge Cup cake.


Winning Brace

With just four minutes remaining the Rhinos were inside the Tigers thirty and set for a Sinfield drop-goal. The Tigers defence closed him down but he passed back to McGuire who found the space to slot over the one-pointer and exorcise fifteen years of Cup Final hoodoo and bring the trophy back to Headingley.

Although we had a twenty-five minute stutter in the second half, the Rhinos were by far the better team on the afternoon and deserved the win. Fair play to Castleford, they played their part in an exciting game which was played in the right spirit and must have been a dream for Mr Bentham to officiate.

There were many great Leeds performances and the choice of Ryan Hall as Lance Todd Trophy Winner cannot have been an easy one. Hardaker, McGuire, Peacock and Burrow must all have run the Leeds winger close on an afternoon where one of the best Rugby League teams of all time added the cherry to their already ornately decorated cake. This is the finest side that I have ever witnessed, and probably better than any watched by my forefathers.

Proud to be a Rhino, proud to be a Challenge Cup winner, the ghost of finals past is now laid to rest.

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


Match Facts

Rhinos
Tigers
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Hardaker
6
Dorn
20
Briscoe
1
2
Dixon
3
Watkins
4
Webster
4
Moon
3
Shenton
5
Hall
2
5
Carney
13
Sinfield
3
7
Sneyd
6
McGuire
1
1
26
Finn
1
8
Leuluai
8
Lynch
7
Burrow
14
Clark
1
10
Peacock
10
Huby
12
Ablett
16
Holmes
1
15
Delaney
12
Hauraki
11
Jones-Buchanan
13
Massey
16
Bailey
18
Mariano
21
Sutcliffe
19
Wheeldon
9
Aiton
20
Ellis
17
Kirke
32
Jewitt

Kick Off:
15:00
Half-Time:
16-4
Referee:
Phil Bentham
Crowd:
77,914


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