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Rhinos Grand Final Winners
Posted by southstander on December 28 2004 - 17:08:00

Make a note of these names; Mathers, Bai, Senior, Walker, Calderwood, Sinfield, McGuire, Ward, Bailey, Diskin, McKenna, Lauiti'iti, Furner, McDermott, Poching, Burrow and Jones-Buchanan. These are the names that will go down in history as the brave players who changed history at Leeds and lifted the first Championship for thirty-two years.

This is what it was all about, and the Rhinos gave us the perfect end to a magnificent season by beating our arch-rivals Bradford Bulls to lift the most important trophy in the game.

I'm so full of pride I feel that I could burst!

16

Rhinos

v

Bulls

08

Superleague IX - Grand Final

16th October 2004

SUPER LEEDS RHINOS

What a atmosphere welcomed the sides onto the pitch for the culmination of a sensational Superleague season. Over sixty-five thousand supporters, two thirds of which must have been wearing Leeds colours, and three quarters of which were supporting the Rhinos, welcomed the sides onto the famous Old Trafford pitch.

Smith had selected his first unchanged side of the season, sticking with the seventeen that had done the job against Wigan last week. Adamson and Dunneman missed out, but Wayne McDonald must count himself as the unluckiest to not get the nod. The Bulls were without Leon Pryce, but apart from that were at full strength, there would be no prisoners taken in this battle for supremacy.

Leeds won the toss and decided to receive the kick, defending the Rhinos supporters end in the East Stand. The noise at kick-off was deafening, how the players managed to focus only they will know.

Leeds defended the first kick well, and carried the ball down to half way before handing over posession. As the Bulls broke, they made the first mistake of the night with a knock-on handing the Rhinos posession from the scrum. Driving towards the posts, Ganson halted play and gave the Rhinos a penalty under the sticks, and remembering the lessons of Cardiff 2003...Sinny took the two!

It had been a great start, but it was about to take a turn for the worse. With seven minutes on the clock, the Bulls got a second set of six after Richie Mathers was caught in-goal. Receiving the kick, the Bulls took four tackles to drive close before flinging the ball wide left for Vainikolo to score in the corner. Mercifully, Deacon failed to goal, but the Bulls had a 4-2 lead. God...this was going be to a tense night!

Quarter of an hour in, and Diskin settled the Rhinos nerves.


Well Deserved

The Bulls had once again coughed up posession, this time on the first tackle, and from the scrum the Rhinos moved down field making good yards. With two to go, Diskin threw a dummy, and sent a massive reminder to Noble that he should be the first choice GB hooker. The Bulls defence seemed to open up, and Matt made the line before being mobbed by jubilant Rhinos players.

Sinfield slotted over the two, and the Rhinos were back in the lead with an 8-4 margin.

We then set about defending like trojans, repelling Bulls attacks, and launching several unsuccessful sorties into the Bulls half. We seemed steady, if not creative, and it was the Bulls who looked the most nervous with several bad mistakes. On thirty-three, a two man ball steal cost the Bulls as Sinfield kicked the penalty from thirty metres to take a 10-4 lead into the half time break.


Super Finale
It had ben one hell of a half, with the best two sides in the league knocking lumps out of one another. We were in the driving seat but the job was only half done, we needed more of a margin.

It was the worst possible start to the second half. With the clock showing forty-three minutes Leeds failed to defend down the left wing on the last tackle and Hape went over. Deacon failed with the kick, that would have levelled the scores, and the Rhinos retained a slender two point margin. I didn't fancy our chances of defending two points for the remaining thirty-seven minutes, we simply had to score.

The next half hour was one of the most nerve-wracking thirty minutes of my life. Leeds pounded the Bulls defence, but couldn't find a way through. Several times we got close before losing the ball or passing forwards, it was almost too much to bear. One eye was fixed on the game, whilst the other was watching the scoreboard tick down. Then a break by Deacon saw him through the Leeds line and off towards the line. Mathers did great to get to him, but he passed the ball in the tackle and only a sensational tackle by Walker saved the day. I started to breath again, but the tension was unbearable.

Salvation was at hand.

On seventy-five, Paul knocked-on in his own twenty. We celebrated like it was a try! From the scrum, Leeds moved the ball to the left, and after going close through McKenna, McGuire picked up the ball and scooted through a gap to score. The Rhinos fans went ballistic and McGuire was mobbed by his team-mates. Sinfield showed nerves of steel to slot over the conversion, making his record four from four on the day, and the Rhinos had a 16-8 lead.

The Bulls heads dropped, as their supporters started leaving in their droves. Leeds played out the remaining five before leaping for joy at the final whistle.

This had been a great night, and one that we hardly dare dream of. Our heroes brought home the trophy that we have craved for so long, and did us mightily proud. The icing on the cake was Matt Diskin (SouthStander.com sponsored) being crowned as Harry Sunderland Trophy winner.

This was a sensational performance, thanks to the players, the coaching and administrative staff, and everyone who supports the club. This was worth waiting for, and fingers crossed for many more in the future!


Match Facts

Rhinos
Bulls
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
21
Mathers
6
Withers
18
Calderwood
17
Reardon
5
Walker
16
Johnson
4
Senior
4
Hape
1
22
Bai
5
Vainikolo
1
6
McGuire
1
18
Harris
13
Sinfield
4
7
Deacon
8
Bailey
8
Vagana
9
Diskin
1
1
Paul
19
Ward
29
Fielden
3
McKenna
12
Peacock
29
Lauiti'iti
13
Swain
11
Furner
11
Radford
7
Burrow
10
Anderson
16
Poching
19
Langley
10
McDermott
15
Pratt
20
Jones-Buchanan
27
Parker

Kick Off:
18:05
Half-Time:
10-04
Attendance:
65,537
Referee:
Steve Ganson


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