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Cardiff Deja Vu
Posted by southstander on August 27 2005 - 16:23:23

Lance Todd Winner
Tony Smith showed his ruthless nature by dropping McDermott from the squad that lined up to play Hull FC in todays Powergen Challenge Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Senior made a miraculous recovery from last weeks injury and was joined by Willie Poching, also returning just three weeks after breaking his jaw.

Wih two half-backs on the bench, and only one makeshift prop in JJB, you had to wonder if it was one gamble too far for the Rhinos.

Even before the sides took the field, the atmosphere was electric, Rhinos fans lapping up the occasion, and the Hull FC fans going nutty just for the fact that they were part of it.

24

Rhinos

v

Hull FC

25

Challenge Cup Final

27th August 2005

Cardiff Deja Vu

The atmosphere as the two teams entered the field was enough to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck, and a tear spring into your eye.

In the absence of Barrie McDermott, there was just a single player who had tasted Challenge Cup victory Keith Senior (in his Sheffield days), but several others who had taken their fill of defeat. Forget the tipsters, forget the bookies, forget form, a cracker was in store.

The Rhinos had the kick-off attacking the masses from Headingley in the first half. The opening ten minutes was a tense affair, but both sides had opportunities to open the scoring. Kicks from Cooke and Sinfield were both ending up dead in goal, possibly in an attempt to buy their sides a breather.

Then, eleven minutes in, we had the first try of the game. A Sinfield kick caused confusion in the Hull defence and as they scrambled to clear their line, Raynor held back Calderwood to prevent him from scoring and the video referee gave a penalty try to the Rhinos. Sinfield converted for a six-nil lead.

Hull then took the upper hand, and on twenty, a high ball into the corner saw a superb diffuse from Calderwood under extreme pressure. As Leeds brought the ball out they knocked-on. Hull used their tackles to drive downfield before a speculative pass to the wing found Tony, who chipped over and collected his own kick to score in the corner. Brough kicked brilliantly from the sideline to level the scores.

Smith rang the changes and brought a headguarded Poching on, who immediately got stuck-in.

On the half hour, a Cooke grubber forced Walker to push the ball dead in goal. Hull returned from the dropout and Yeaman came close but was judged to have dropped the ball just short of the line.

The Leeds fans breathed a collective sigh of relief from a decision which could have gone either way.


Disaster & Try

With a few minutes left, the Rhinos escaped again, this time after Motu Tony was marginally offside at the kick-through. Hull FC had definitely been the strongest side in the first half, but the Rhinos had held them to all-square as the half-time hooter sounded. Surely they couldn't keep up the same intensity in the second forty.

As the teams emerged for the second half, Senior was missing and limped to the bench, more mind games, or had the Rhinos gamble failed?

Five minutes into the second half, Leeds threw an outrageous intercept. Hull broke downfield and the ball was flung out left for Raynor to cross in the corner. Brough converted brilliantly again. Now we were in trouble!

It kick-started the Rhinos. On forty-seven, Ward bulldozed his way over off a Sinfield pass, and after a tense two minutes the video referee ruled 'TRY'. Sinfield goal levelled things up at 12-12. Fingers crossed that Hull were now 'spent'.

Hull came straight back at Leeds, and a catastrophic error from Bai, trying to offload in goal, saw the ball go to Whiting, who couldn't believe his luck as he touched down. Brough goaled to re-open the six point lead. The game was the nailbiter that we'd all been afraid of.


Two Try
Leeds then started with the mistakes. A great ball steal from McKenna came to nought when Walker coughed it up two plays later. A leeds goal-line drop-out went straight into touch. And then on fifty-nine, Brough dropped a goal to extend the lead to seven points.

Nip-and-tuck is the only phrase. On sixty-six a moment of individual brilliance as Calderwood broke the line in the centre of the field and went fifty metres to score. Sinfield slotted over the extras for 19-18.

Leeds were now back in the box-seat. On their next attack a Mathers bomb on the last was collected by Bai as Tony flapped. Marcus improved the angle grounding behind the sticks, and the Sinfield goal gave us a 24-19 lead. There were nine minutes plus stoppages.

With seconds left on the clock, Cooke turned matchwinner as he scampered through a gap in the Leeds centres, a spot were they had looked vulnerable all day, and went behind the sticks to improve the angle. Brough goaled from in-front to get Hull FC the most dramatic of Cup Final wins.

A Sinfield attempted drop in the last minutes was charged down, and the Rhinos had lost by 25-24 to the best team on the day. Kear had done it again, and taken the massive underdogs to a shock cup final victory. Smith had gambled too far with a a lightweight pack and an injured Senior managing just forty minutes.

Another Rhinos Cup Final, another loss. Gutted.


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

Match Facts

Rhinos
Hull FC
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Mathers
14
Tony
1
2
Calderwood
2
2
Blacklock
3
Walker
3
Yeaman
4
Senior
30
Whiting
1
5
Bai
1
5
Raynor
1
13
Sinfield
4
6
Horne R.
7
Burrow
21
Brough
4
1
8
Bailey
8
Dowes
9
Diskin
9
Swain
15
Ward
1
20
Carvell
11
Lauiti'iti
11
McMenemy
12
McKenna
12
Kearney
20
Ellis
13
Cooke
1
6
McGuire
15
Thackray
16
Poching
10
King
14
Dunemann
16
Saxton
18
Jones-Buchanan
17
Chester

Kick Off:
14:30
Half-Time:
06-06
Attendance:
74,213
Referee:
Steve Ganson


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