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Rhinos Season Ends in Humiliation
Posted by southstander on September 25 2014 - 08:10:27

Dejection

I saw the match, but I've since been laid up ill, although I don't think I can blame the Rhinos for the illness.

Somewhat delayed, I bring you my thoughts on the embarrassing debacle that was Saturday evening and the Rhinos, not unexpectedly, exiting the play offs at the first ask.

It was a bad day to be a Rhinos supporter but a joyous one to be a follower of the Catalans Dragons.

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

20

Rhinos

v

Dragons

24

Superleague XIX - Play Off

20th September 2014

Rhinos Season Ends in Humiliation

You can;t really complain about the team selection, the Rhinos were named at full strength with Sinfield and McGuire in the halves and Burrow at hooker. Add in Hardaker at full back and we'd four seasoned play makers in the side behind a strong set of forwards.

Despite a pitifully small crowd, the stage was set for the Rhinos to brush aside the Dragons, winless at Headingley, and progress to the next stage of the play offs and a visit to Huddersfield on Friday night. Despite the Dragons decent late season form it seemed a formality, perhaps the reason why many Rhinos fans stayed at home.

We'd been drip fed with propoganda all week about how the 'lads are up for this', how they 'want to do the double' and how 'the Challenge Cup didn't mean our season was over'. And we'd believed it.

The opening exchanges were big and tough but we'd expected that the visitors would come out all guns blazing.


Good Start
On fourteen we turned down a penalty after Sinfield was hit late in the tackle and on the first play the ball after the tap Sinfield and McGuire combined to put Carl Ablett over for the opening Leeds try. The skipper slotted over the extras for a six point lead and everything was going to plan.

On twenty-eight the Dragons levelled the score when Williams found a gap in the Leeds defence, with alarming ease, and went forty metres to score and Bosc added the extras to tie the game up.

Both sides battled towards half-time and the Dragons would have been happier had the scores stayed level until the interval.

But the Rhinos had different ideas. On thirty-five Sinfield got hit late after putting in a kick and Hardaker kicked the penalty as Sinfield tried to recover.

In the last minute of the half we witnessed a great try from Watkins as he dribbled the ball forwards, collected on the bounce and dove over the line. Sinfield added the two and we were sat at 14-6 at the interval. It had been a hard fought game with plenty of mistakes from both sides but a decent enough Leeds performance had seen us eak out a lead, which although not comfortable, should have been one we could maintain in the second half.

But it would be another Rhinos second half capitulation.

On forty-six we let the Dragons in for another simple try as a kick to the corner was collected by Taia who slid over the line. Bosc goaled to narrow the margin to two points.

On fifty-six Ryan Hall knocked on a high kick through and the Dragons used their plays before Anderson came onto a ball at speed and crossed under the sticks. The Bosc goal meant that a reasonably comfortable half time lead had now been overhauled by the visitors and it was they who had a four point advantage.

Fourteen nervous minutes passed as the Rhinos tried to get back on top and on seventy we all breathed a sigh of relief when Sinfield put Jones-Buchanan through a gap to score. Sinfield added the extras for a 20-18 lead and now we needed to hang on or improve our position.


Hard Work

As the clock ran down it looked like the Rhinos had mopped up the Catalans threat. A kick through on seventy-eight was collected by Hardaker in his own goal area and he did well to make it back into play before a pass to Briscoe was knocked on as Leeds tried to work the ball from the line. Williams picked up the loose ball and dived over to silence from the South Stand. Bosc kicked the extras to re-establish the four point lead and the visitors thwarted the last Rhinos attack and ran the clock down to victory.

This simply wasn't good enough or what we've come to expect from the Rhinos. That makes it six consecutive Superleague losses, our worst record since the start of the summer era.

I am, of course, delighted that we won the Challenge Cup. But it simply isn't enough when the season ends as pathetically as 2014 has.

Have we been 'found out'? Have we lost our appetite? Are too many of our players at the end of long and exhausing careers?

2015 will tell us, and it is likely to be a watershed season.

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


Match Facts

Rhinos
Dragons
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Hardaker
1
2
Escare
20
Briscoe
5
Oldfield
3
Watkins
1
4
Pomeroy
4
Moon
25
Duport
5
Hall
18
Millard
13
Sinfield
3
6
Bosc
4
6
McGuire
34
Williams
2
8
Leuluai
8
Elima
7
Burrow
9
Henderson
10
Peacock
12
Anderson
1
11
Jones-Buchanan
1
11
Taia
1
12
Ablett
1
17
Whitehead
15
Delaney
13
Mounis
19
Achurch
10
Lima
21
Sutcliffe
16
Pelissier
9
Aiton
21
Bosquet
16
Bailey
29
Garcia

Kick Off:
17:15
Half-Time:
14-6
Referee:
Phil Bentham
Crowd:
7,112


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