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Leigh Get Nothing From the Rhinos
Posted by southstander on August 07 2005 - 17:45:17

22 Points on Debut
Despite the two sides being firmly lodged at opposite ends of the table, this was a game where everything was to play for.

Leigh, under caretaker coach and Leeds 'favourite' Tommy Martyn needed a win to avoid relegation for another week, Leeds needed the two points to return to the top spot taken by Saints on Friday night.

The Bookies, Leeds Supporters, and even Leigh supporters knew which way this game would go...for many it was just a matter of how many the Rhinos would score.

74

Rhinos

v

Centurions

00

Superleague X

7th August 2005

Leigh Get Nothing From the Rhinos

The Rhinos took to the field in the Mustard and Blue without play makers Sinfield and Burrow. Lee Smith and Ashley Gibson had been given the nod to get a game against the Superleagues strugglers in a game which should have been one where we could relax. Leigh were without old-professionals Rowley (reputed to be suspended by the club) and in a surprising last minute omission, ex-Rhinos favourite Robbie Mears. The 'towel' was already on its way onto the pitch as the hooter sounded the start of the match.

The opening quarter of an hour did not go to the Rhinos plan. Attacking the travelling support from the east of the Pennines the Rhinos could not break down either a solid Leigh defence, or the Leigh sympathetic refereeing of Ronnie Laughton. Leeds went close a couple of times but were penalised seemingly for petty technical penalties, seen only by the referee, before on sixteen minutes we got the long-awaited breakthrough.

Diskin, spinning from dummy half mesmerised the Leigh defence and put Bailey over for an unlikely opener from close range. Lee Smith slotted over the two and we were up...at last.

Two minutes later and the Rhinos were getting a taste for the whitewash. A spear tackle on Dunemann gave Leeds a penalty, although Laughton missed an attempted decapitation on Mathers seconds before. From the tap the ball was moved left and McGuire and Senior combined to give Smith an eight metre run into the corner.

Lee missed the conversion for 10-0, it seemed that the floodgates might be about to open.


On twenty-six the Rhinos were over again. A sensational break by Lee Smith will have impressed his namesake coach as skipped out of five attempted tackles before being hauled down after a sixty metre run. A good drive from Bailey took the Rhinos close before Diskin went from acting half to dive for the line, draw the tacklers, and offload superbly for Ward to crash over under the sticks. The Smith conversion made it 16-0. Leigh were already relegated, now it was a matter of keeping the clean sheet and rattling up a cricket score.

With five minutes to the interval, a superb last ditch tackle by Mathers, so maligned last week, was followed by a pounce on the play-the-ball as the Leigh side decided not to support their man. Mathers broke downfield and used Dunemann who drew two tacklers before passing to an unmarked Calderwood to canter over, improving the angle. Smith converted for 22-0.

The last action of the half saw fast hands down the Leeds line and Senior cross. Smith missed but Leeds had rattled up a 26-0 lead in just twenty-four second half minutes from the opening try. The Leigh dam held well for the opening fifteen, but had now well and truly bust.


Great Game
The second half was now a mouthwatering prospect, and it didn't take tool long until we got our first course!

On forty-four a Walker break saw him pass inside to Calderwood, but the leagues top try scorer was caught. From the next play McKenna went down the right wing and switched inside for Chev to collect and score. Smith added the two for 32-0 as debutatnt Ashley Gibson replaced Keith Senior.

It would take Ashley just two minutes to get his first game off to a dream start.

Forty-six minutes were on the clock as Leeds kept the ball alive superbly from right to left on the Leigh twenty. Gibson found a gap engineered by a Lautit'iti pass to scamper over. Smith missed the cobversion but it was now 36-0 and becoming a procession. The lads looked to be enjoying themselves as the Leigh supporters chanted 'We only want one point...'.

Leeds now turned on the style.

On fifty-two a shallow Mathers kick was palmed back by Walker into the hands of a grateful Calderwood to cross. Smith failed to convert again, and that would be his last effort with the boot as debutant Gibson took over.

As we entered the last quarter of the game, the Rhinos had another six tries lined up for our delictation.

On sixty-one, Leigh knocked on from an attempted intercept. Leeds head and feed was followed by fast hands and a great dummy from Chris McKenna who crossed for a well deserved try. Gibson failed to convert but we were not 44-0 ahead.

On sixty-five Senior and Calders both made good metres before McGuire drew the defence and passed to Gibson to score his second, rounding behind the posts to make his own kick a formality. The fifty was on the board, but there was plenty more to come.

On sixty-eight a great break by Bailey, who refound his form today, made good metres. Diskin then made a break before passing to Gibson to cross for a twenty-two minute hat-trick...on his debut! Gibson converted again.

With just seven minutes left on the clock, the Rhinos still had another three tries to squeeze in.

On seventy-three, Mathers diffused a bomb and broke to his own forty before releasing McGuire to run fifty and score under the sticks. Gibson goaled for 62-0.

Three minutes later and another Bailey break found McGuire poaching on the inside to fun in another forty metre effort as the Leigh defence stood and watched. Gibson goaled again for 68-0.

The last score of the game came with two minutes left on the clock as a Dunners bounce pass found Bailey to cross and give the game a nice bit of symmetry (first and last score). Gibson slotted over the extras for a final score of 74-0 as Leigh held on until the hooter to avoid Leeds getting a point a minute.

This was an awful Leigh performance, assisted ably by Mr Laughton, but the Rhinos can only beat what is put in front of them. This was also a great Rhinos performance, even without influential players like Sinfield and Burrow, and Tony Smith must be delighted.

Special mention to Ashley Gibson for a sensational debut, and I'll bet he didn't dream it would be that good last night! Richie Mathers had one of his best games in Rhinos colours, superb in defence and attack and stepping up to the plate as a play-maker when needed. Bailey was free running, McKenna did it tough and Diskin had another great game to show that his rehabilitation is complete.

Leigh are down, but must have been left wondering how bad it could have been with a fully fit Rhinos squad. Another great Rhinos performance and the third 'nilling' of the season. Now, lets put the record straight against London Broncos next weekend.


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
Mathers42%
8
Gibson31%
6
Diskin14%
4
Bailey6%
2
Calderwood3%
2
McGuire3%
2
McKenna3%

Check out the season standings here.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Centurions
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Mathers
24
Wilshire
2
Calderwood
2
14
Maden
3
Walker
1
1
Cooper
4
Senior
1
8
Jackson
23
Smith
1
4
19
Smyth
6
McGuire
2
10
Kent
14
Dunemann
28
Duffy
8
Bailey
2
4
Fleary
9
Diskin
30
Maddox
15
Ward
1
20
Stapleton
16
Poching
15
Marshall
12
McKenna
1
12
Wilkes
20
Ellis
13
Leafa
10
McDermott
21
Sturm
22
Scruton
31
Stevens
11
Lauiti'iti
33
Coleman
28
Gibson
3
5
26
Owen

Kick Off:
15:00
Half-Time:
28-00
Attendance:
4,922
Referee:
Ron Laughton


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