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Unimpressive Rhinos Struggle Past 'Quins
Posted by southstander on January 29 2006 - 18:04:47

Debut Try

I'd have given you any odds on the new 'swipe' card not working for todays match, and I'd have made a mint!

Almost twice the crowd that attended last years pre-season against the 'then' Broncos braved a bitterly cold afternoon to see a first choice Rhinos side take on the Harlequins RL. The Leeds starting line-up was one to thirteen and the 'Quins side looked reasonably tasty too.

This had all the makings of a good test, and the Rhinos had treated the build-up as though this was to be the first competitive match of the season.

We bring you all of the action here......

28

Rhinos

v

Harlequins

16

Pre-Season Friendly

29th January 2006

Unimpressive Rhinos Struggle Past 'Quins

It didn't take long for the Rhinos to register the first score. With just one minute on the scoreboard, Sinfield and the McGuire spun out great passes for Matt Diskin to touch down. Sinfield goaled and it looked like we might be in for a points avalanche.

The 'Quins soon proved that they had not come to Headingley to capitulate. Good defence kept the Rhinos at bay, and then on nine minutes, and thanks to a couple of missed Rhinos tackles, Leuluai went over the top of Mathers to stretch and score next to the posts. Gafa converted to level the scores. Surely a 'blip'.

Three minutes later and Leeds were back in front. Moving the ball from right to left, a palm-push by Mather put the ball into the hands of Senior who crossed in the corner. Sinfield failed to convert.

On twenty-one, Jamie Peacock made amends for being help up over the line on eighteen, when he opened his Leeds account off a short Diskin pass.Sinfield added the two for 16-6 and it all seemed to be going very much to plan....and then the wheels came off.

The Rhinos would be kept scoreless for the next forty-eight minutes as devoid of ideas and structure, the 'Quins were allowed to boss the game.

On twenty-five, the Rhinos should have extended their lead when Donald intercepted five metres from his own line and set off down field. With just the full-back to avoid, he was ankle tapped and the ball was lost, you have to wonder if the same would have happened if Calderwood had had the ball!

On thirty-two the 'Quins reduced the margin as with the ball moved left, Sheriffe went over in the corner, Gafa couldn't convert and his side went into half-time trailing by 16-10.

The visitors started the second half the brightest. On forty-eight a break by Temata opened the Rhinos defence, and Dorn was in support to take the pass and score. Gafa missed again for 16-14. On the sixty-minute mark McLinden turned the Rhinos defence inside-out as he avoided three attempted tackles to score. Gafa failed to convert, but the visitors had a 16-18 lead. This was not what the crowd was expecting, and it was looking like an increasingly embarassing afternoon for the players and coaching staff.

A rally in the last ten minutes came to Leeds rescue and spared the blushes. On seventy, McGuire spun out of a tackle and put Lee Smith over. The Sinfield conversion re-established the lead at 22-18. With five minutes remaining, Poching twisted over to score off a Sinfield short pass. When the skipper added the conversion it sealed a 28-18 win for the Rhinos, but it was far from convincing.

With a full Rhinos side, many expected that this would be an excellent opportunity to see what we had...and worryingly it seems that we have very little.

We look a lot smaller this year, without Ward, McDermott and Marcus Bai to do the hit-ups. Frailty showed in missed tackles, and we looked devoid of ideas going forward, and fearful of the ball in defence. Without singling out individuals, we looked very exposed down one wing!

Peacock looked good in his first outing, and Burrow and McGuire played their hearts out. With a few exceptions we looked like a side at the end of a long season rather than at the start of a new one. Unless this was a game deliberately played at 50%, I think we might have a long season ahead of us. Either the 'Quins are considerably better than the Broncos were last season, or we have slipped back into the pack. I know which is most likely!

Match Facts

Rhinos
Harlequins
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Mathers
1
McLinden
1
2
Donald
18
Gafa
1
3
Walker
25
Luisi
4
Senior
1
4
Smith
5
Smith
1
5
Bradley-Qalilawa
6
McGuire
6
Dorn
1
7
Burrow
7
Leuluai
1
8
Bailey
20
Lololiea
9
Diskin
1
12
Hopkins
10
Peacock
1
10
Heckenberg
11
Lauiti'iti
11
Temata
12
Ellis
13
Purdham
13
Sinfield
4
11
Haumono
14
Millard
22
Sheriffe
1
16
Poching
1
14
Williams
18
Jones-Buchanan
16
Mbu
20
Scruton
15
Mills
21
Ablett
28
Clubb

Kick Off:
15:00
Half-Time:
16-10
Referee:
Ronnie Laughton
Crowd:
4,029


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