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Rhinos in Crisis of Confidence
Posted by southstander on September 10 2005 - 20:00:00

After three back-to-back losses we were all feeling a little vulnerable, but with a shocker of a performance at the Halliwell Jones Stadium tonight, we've been stripped bare in front of a national TV audience.

Something went seriously wrong on the Perpignan trip, because since then the wheels have collapsed from the Rhinos bandwagon.

We went to Warrington tonight, admittedly with nothing to play for except some team spirit and confidence, but we came away with our season in tatters as a Johns inspired Wolves took us apart.

16

Rhinos

v

Wolves

33

Superleague X

10th September 2005

Rhinos in Crisis of Confidence

Tony Smith had obviously given up on tonights fixture before the lads even got off the coach in Warrington tonight. Bailey was the man in the eighteen who missed out, with the 'tinker man' in his element. Dunemann started at hooker, Lee Smith in the centres, JJB at prop and Diskin and McGuire on the bench.

For Warrington the team selection was all about one man, their new messiah Andrew Johns who started the game at scrum half to Briers stand-off.

Warrington took the lead within a minute of the kick-off and didn't relinquish it for the entire match. The kick-off swirled in the wind, hit Burrow on the shoulder and was deemed a knock-on by Mr Klein. From the resulting scrum, Johns at first receiver threw a long ball to the right and Fa'afili went over in the corner. Johns converted from the touchline and it was not the start we'd wanted.

On nine minutes we were back in it. Good Leeds pressure finally paid dividends after a high tackle by Nathan Wood on Andrew Dunemann gave us an extra six under the sticks. A couple of good drives got us close, and then Mathers went through a gap for a try. Sinfield converted an easy one from in-front for six-six.

The game remained tied until the twentieth minute when Johns kicked a penalty after a McDermott high tackle.


Got us Level

On twenty-seven, the Rhinos fell further behind. As the defence got stretched Lee Smith missed a one-on-one tackle on Martin Gleeson and he walked home. Johns converted for 6-14, the game was slipping. Five minutes before the break and a great step by Grose was bought hook-line-and-sinker by Ali Lauiti'iti and the second-rower ran twenty to score. Johns proved he was fallible by missing but it was 6-18 and the Wolves were in control.

Leeds needed to score before half-time and in the dying second of the half they did. A good break by McGuire saw him draw Grose as he went for the line and pass inside to Matt Diskin who didn't need a second invitation to score. Sinfield goaled and the hooter sent us in with a 12-18 deficit.


Played Well
Leeds had a lucky escape at the start of the second half. With the half just three minutes old Clarke knocked on from ten metres with the line open. Was the Rhinos luck changing?

We took full advantage by taking the drive all the way to the Wolves line where Ali and Walker combined to put Bai over in the corner. Sinfield missed the conversion and the chance of levelling the scores. From now on it would be all Wolves.

On forty-eight Johns turned try provider as he went through a gap, drew Mathers and passed out to Swann to cross unopposed. The new man converted for 16-24.

On sixty-six Bai and McGuire broke from the Leeds line to score a great length of the field try, only to be hauled back for a Wolves penalty for offside, right on the Leeds line. Leeds defence held strong, but heads finally went down when Johns kicked a drop goal on seventy-three to take the Wolves eleven points clear.

A last minute try from Wood, after Sinfield failed to put in any attempt at a tackle, was the icing on the cake for the home support, with Johns goal giving a final scoreline of 16-33.

Leeds were as poor tonight, as the Wolves were good. Johns was excellent for his new side, with his distribution sensational, and his kicking game crucifying the Rhinos. The Wolves tackled like they meant it, and played like a team, the exact opposite of the Rhinos.

This was a game which meant nothing to us, except as a team building exercise. Next weeks against Wakefield also means absolutely nothing, except that we will go to Knowsley Road for the play-off on the back of a fifth loss. The Rhinos have never lost five on the trot, the last time we did that was under Dean Bell in the dark days of 1996, before we adopted the moniker.

I'd got out of the habit of losing, and I can't say I'm enjoying it. More post-mortems to follow.


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
Mathers54%
8
Sinfield17%
6
Walker15%
4
Dunemann7%
3
Smith5%
2
Diskin2%

Check out the season standings here.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Wolves
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Mathers
1
1
Grose
1
2
Calderwood
2
Fa'afili
1
3
Walker
3
Gleeson, Martin
1
23
Smith
4
Kohe-Love
5
Bai
1
25
Bridge
13
Sinfield
2
6
Briers
7
Burrow
31
Johns
6
1
18
Jones-Buchanan
8
Leikvoll
14
Dunemann
7
Wood, N
1
15
Ward
16
Wood, P
11
Lauiti'iti
11
Swann
1
16
Poching
13
Noone
20
Ellis
9
Clarke
22
Scruton
17
Lima
6
McGuire
24
Gleeson, Mark
10
McDermott
28
Riley
9
Diskin
1
23
Bracek

Kick Off:
18:05
Half-Time:
12-18
Attendance:
13,024
Referee:
Ashley Klein


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