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Rhinos Teach Dogs New Tricks
Posted by southstander on February 04 2005 - 21:49:30

World Champs
This was the first time for the Rhinos. The World Club Challenge virgins entered the Elland Road cauldron with the hopes of a club...nay city...nay country on their shoulders. Would the side that stormed last seasons Superleague competition have enough to take out their Australian counterparts?

The next eighty minutes would tell us! And we couldn't wait!

39

Rhinos

v

Bulldogs

32

Carnegie World Club Challenge

4th February 2005

at Elland Road, Leeds

Rhinos Teach 'Dogs New Tricks

The Rhinos gave a debut to new boy Gareth Ellis, but he and Dunemann (for the injured Diskin) were the only two changes from the side which defeated the Bulls at Old Trafford just over three months ago. The visitors had been forced to make rather more changes, with their Grand Final winning pack having been decimated by injury. The back line, the try scoring engine for the 'breadstealers' was almost intact. They looked dangerous.

Leeds took to a threadbare Elland Road for the first time in a decade and stood with their backs to the Don Revie Stand. Early disaster as Walker parried the kick-off into touch, but the Rhinos survived the early pressure.

With four minutes on the clock, the Rhinos took full advantage of the first penalty of the game for holding down. Sinfields kick gained ground and McGuire found Walker in plenty of space to cross. Sinfield converted and the Rhinos were six up.

On ten minutes a speculative Sinfield kick on the last was horrendously miscontrolled by full-back Patten. Calders had made good ground and hacked he ball into goal, winning the chase to score under the posts. Sinfield added the two and the Rhinos had the start we'd all dreamed of.

On eighteen minutes Mathers was forced to give away a penalty on the Rhinos line after having just put in an enormous hit. The Bulldogs moved the ball wide and El Masri went over in the corner as the Rhinos line was finally breached. El Masri converted his own to take the score to 12-6.


Great Debut

On twenty-two minutes a great McDermott offload found McGuire supporting on the half-way line. McGuire went through the gap and put in a sensational fifty metre diagonal to score in the left hand corner, eluding El Masri. Scintilating stuff! Sinfield missed the touchline conversion, but the Rhinos were cruising.

The Bulldogs were trying to rough it up at every opportunity, but it was a monster carry by McDermott that left 'Dogs skipper Grimaldi in 'cloud cuckoo land'. We meant business. Now I was starting to enjoy it.

On thirty-three Burrow picked the ball up in midfield and scooted to the right and found Chev Walker. Walker made a few yards but as he was wrapped up he squeezed a flipper pass to Calderwood who set off down the wing. Finding his way blocked he put in a high kick which was collected by Poching to score. Sinfield failed to convert but it was now 20-6.

On thirty-seven, the Rhinos showed true Leeds flair. Sinfield, Lauiti'iti, McGuire, Mathers, Ellis, Senior, and Bai all combined with a sequence of breathtaking over the shoulder passes to put Burrow over under the posts, one of the best teamwork tries you are ever likely to see. Sinfield added the two for 26-6, as the teams headed for the sheds.


Top Game
The Bulldogs came out for the second half in a different gear, and set about getting into the Rhinos. With the half just five minutes old Grimaldi put in a reverse pass to Tonga who found Patten to make up for his earlier calamity. El Masri slotted over the conversion for 26-12. It was game on.

On fifty-one, and the Rhinos first real attack of the half, a McGuire grubber from ten metres out bemused the 'Dogs defence and Mathers touched down. Sinfield slotted over the goal for 32-12. Margin restored.

On fifty-four, the 'Dogs started to look like a pub team. A McGuire kick from the forty bounced beautifully and stood up in goal. El Masri collected but as he tried to get out of goal, Senior forced the fumble and JJB pounced on the loose ball. Sinfield converted for 38-12. First half service was resumed.

On the next set, a clumsy McDermott knock-on gifted posession and with the Bulldogs rapidly turning into a one man team, El Masri went over in the corner. This time he missed the goal for 38-16.

On sixty-one, McGuire showed a little early-season rust as he flapped at Lolesi who went forty to score in the corner. El Masri missed again, but the Bulldogs were in eighteen, with eighteen minutes left on the clock.

A great collection of offloads close to the Rhinos line eventually bore fruit as skipper Grimaldi went over next to the posts. The Rhinos were starting to tire and El Masri's conversion brought the Bulldogs within twelve at 38-26.

With nine minutes to go, it was all geting far too close. The ball was given air out wide and Lolesi went over on the overlap. El Masri converted from the touchline to narrow the margin to a paltry six. The Bulldogs were dominating the second, just as the Rhinos had the first.

With the clock ticking down, and showing just two and a half minutes, Sinfield showed his maturity. As the ball came to him on the 'Dogs twenty, and the last tackle, he steadied himself and dropped the crucial goal to open a seven point margin at 39-32.

The Rhinos ran the clock down, and kept the visitors in their own half to secure a famous win.

This was a stylish Rhinos performance which showed that the Rhinos are ready to start Superleague X where they left off. In the end, it was a lot closer than it should have been, all credit to Canterbury for the fightback. The hard hitting tackles, and flair in attack will have pleased Tony Smith ahead of next weeks trip to the KC Stadium.

For the first time in our history we are World Champions, drink it in!


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
-
Sinfield52%
-
McGuire19%
-
Mathers12%
-
Calderwood7%
-
Poching4%
-
Ellis3%
-
Bai1%


Match Facts

Rhinos
Bulldogs
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Mathers
1
1
Patten
1
2
Calderwood
1
2
El Masri
2
3
3
Walker
1
3
Lolesi
2
4
Senior
4
Tonga
5
Bai
5
Cutler
13
Sinfield
5
1
6
Anasta
6
McGuire
1
7
Hughes
8
Bailey
8
Armit
14
Dunemann
9
Perry
15
Ward
10
Asotasi
18
Jones-Buchanan
1
11
Maitua
12
McKenna
12
Williams
120
Ellis
13
Grimaldi
1
7
Burrow
1
14
Oliver
11
Lauiti'iti
15
Czislowski
10
McDermott
16
Myles
16
Poching
1
17
Brideson

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
26-06
Attendance:
37,028
Referee:
Sean Hampstead


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