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Rhinos Save Worst Performance for Biggest Game
Posted by southstander on August 19 2005 - 21:36:20

Disaster
I sit here glass of malt in hand, Carl Orff's Carmina Burana on the stereo, still scratching my head at how the Rhinos could put in such a poor performance in the game that matters most to the supporters.

Tonight, at Headingley, we were beaten all ends up by the arch enemy...the Bradford Bulls.

This was an absolute shocking performance, of crass ball handling and woeful tactics. A night to forget!

10

Rhinos

v

Bulls

42

Superleague X

19th August 2005

Rhinos Save Worst Performance for Biggest Game

The last minute loss of Calderwood saw an able replacement, or so we thought, in the shape of Lee Smith. Scruton was replaced by Ward and JJB was back in the side on his comeback from injury. It looked a fairly balanced side, but some 'terrace coaches' voiced concern over the half-back pairing of Dunemann and McGuire which failed to click in last weeks win over the Broncos.

Bradford were almost at full strength themselves, and needed everything they'd got to withstand a massive first five minute onslaught from the Rhinos as they attacked the scoreboard end in the first half.

Six minutes of valiant defence finally buckled when a Sinfield kick to the wing was collected by Smith who crossed on the corner for a confidence boosting first try of the night. Sinfields conversion sailed wide, but it was a dream start for the Rhinos, and Leeds continued to dominate the opening quarter.

It was the twenty-sixth minute before the Bulls registered their first score. The ball was moved down the left wing and Hape did well to find space to ground the ball in the corner. Deacon goaled to give the visitors a 6-4 lead.

There was then to come a devastating passage of play. Firstly McGuire picked up a shoulder/chest injury and then Senior was stretchered off after going over on his ankle in the tackle. Both could prove costly next week at the Millennium Stadium.

Five minutes later and the Bulls extended the lead, totally against the run of play. This time it was Pryce who broke the Leeds line, evaded a flying attempted tackle by Mathers and passed inside for Lynch to cross under the posts. Deacon goaled for 4-12, all of a sudden it wasn't looking so good.

With two minutes to go to the interval the Rhinos got a stroke of luck. As Ward stripped the ball in a one-on-one tackle, Ali picked it up, from what appeared to be an offside position. He passed immediately to Sinfield who stepped and went fifty metres to score under the sticks as the Bulls players stood and watched. Klein put up the square in the air, and the video referee gave the Rhinos a very dubious try.

As they say 'read it in the papers' and the Rhinos went into the interval trailing by just two.


Best in Blue & Amber?

It hadn't been a bad first half, we'd dominated long spells but couldn't convert superiority into points. In the end we were lucky to still be so close to the Bulls, we'd need to put in a big second half effort, but as it turned out, we were about to get nilled for forty!

The Bulls got their scoring fest off to an early start when they stretched us left and then right before Langley walked past Ellis to score. Deacon goaled for 10-18. On fifty-three, Lee Smiths Grade 'A' first half turned into a second half 'F' as he fumbled a grubber and allowed Deacon to score next to the posts. He amazingly missed his conversion but the Rhinos trailed by two converted tries at 10-22.


Defensive Disaster
On fifty-six, Smith made a 'porridge' of another grubber and Hape benefitted this time with his second. Deacon once again missed for 10-26.

Five minutes of misery were complete when Paul went from half-way to score the Bulls fifth, and see Deacons goal take the score to 10-32. The Rhinos were 'dead and buried'.

There were two more tries for the Bulls as they continued the second half shut-out of the Rhinos. On sixty-four McDermott failed to collect a kick-through and Iestyn Harris pounced to dribble forward, pick up, and dive over next to the posts. With seven minutes left, and on the last play some ten metres out, the Bulls went blind and Hape had an easy job to run past the 'shell-shicked' Smith to complete his hat-trick. Deacon missed the final conversion attempt but the Bulls had a resounding 10-42 victory.

This was by far the worst that the Rhinos have played this season and it is simply beyond explanation. The Bulls played well, but an on-form Rhinos would have put them away in the first half. The referee wasn't great, but made bad decisions against both sides.

Smith looked like a fish out of water in the second half, gifting the visitors three tries. McDermott had his worst game in a Rhinos shirt for as long as I can remember, and there was just no 'fire' between the half-backs. Credit to Dunemann, Diskin, and Ellis who ran their blood to water, but they couldn't carry the rest of the team.

This was really disappointing and will probably cost us the 'hubcap' and force us to go to Saints for the first Grand Final Semi-Final, not what we wanted. More urgently, the injuries to McGuire and Senior could mean that we are without them for next weekends trip to Cardiff, and that would be a disaster. Hull supporters will join the Saints fans in their merriment, but the codheads should perhaps ask themselves when the last time was that the Rhinos lost two on the bounce!


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
Mathers36%
8
Ellis32%
6
Dunemann8%
4
Diskin7%
3
Lautiti'iti5%
2
Bai3%
1
Ward3%

Check out the season standings here.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Bulls
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Mathers
6
Withers
23
Smith
1
3
Pryce
3
Walker
13
Harris B.
4
Senior
4
Hape
3
5
Bai
5
Vainikolo
14
Dunemann
18
Harris
1
6
McGuire
7
Deacon
1
5
8
Bailey
12
Peacock
9
Diskin
9
Henderson
15
Ward
29
Fielden
20
Ellis
10
Meyers
12
McKenna
16
Johnson
13
Sinfield
1
1
11
Radford
7
Burrow
14
Lynch
1
18
Jones-Buchanan
19
Langley
1
11
Lauiti'iti
1
Paul
1
10
McDermott
8
Vagana

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
10-12
Attendance:
20,220
Referee:
Ashley Klein


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