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Rhinos Run Out Of Steam
Posted by southstander on February 25 2006 - 09:18:28

Awesome Hits

No Rhinos fan ever looks forward to a trip to Knowsley Road, but we still went in great numbers to cheer on our lads.

The bookies had given us a ten point start on the coupon, and it was evident to all that it would be a massive ask for the Rhinos to win in Lancashire two weeks running. For large parts of the game the Rhinos were forced to defend set after set and in the end the Saints ground us down, and ground out the win.

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

04

Rhinos

v

Saints

13

SLXI - Round 3

24th February 2006

Rhinos Run Out of Steam

As the teams were announced there was a bit of a shock for Rhinos fans. It wasn't the debut of Danny Williams on the wing, we all knew about that a couple of days ago. I was the omission of Gareth Ellis with a minor knee injury (requiring an operation), and of him being replaced by Chris Feather. Saints, on the other hand looked at full strength with a formidible line-up which must be challenging the salary cap!

The wind was bitterly cold as the sides took to the field, the Rhinos playing the first half with their backs towards the travelling army of supporters that had battled the M62. Freezing temperatures mean cold fingers, and it would be a night where we would see handling errors galore.

The Rhinos started the brighter, but only just. Fearsome hits indicated that it would be a night of strong defence rather than attacking flair. An early break by JJB got the Rhinos close, but as Saints regained the ball they came right back at us. It was developing into an end-to-end game when on nine nminutes Sinfield put in a kick from his own forty which bounced awkwardly in front of the Saints last line of defence and into the arms of debutee Danny Williams. Williams rounded the defender and went over in the corner, but the referee went to the video and Williams was ruled to be offside.

After being denied once, Williams took his next chance well. On twenty-two, and with the Saints just edging the game, they were penalised for offside. Leeds made them pay for conceeding a penalty in their own twenty as a Mathers grubber was touched down in goal by Williams and this time the referee pointed to the spot and gave the Rhinos a four point lead. Sinfield failed with the touchline conversion, but the Saints fans were silenced.

It rattled Saints, and four minutes later Graham was lucky to stay on the field when he used the elbow on Burrow after the pocket rocket had got a kick away. Rob was left polaxed, while Klein bottled the decision and kept his red card in his pocket. Sinfield option to tap rather than kick also seemed a little strange.


Debut Try

As the half wore on, the defensive ask of the Rhinos was massive. Saints were throwing everything at us, and we were only managing the occasional break into their half. On Thirty-five Roby made a break from his own twenty, and as it looked like he might go all the way, Burrow chased back brilliantly and caught him. It was, however, brief respite as the Rhions tried to hold on until half-time. With three minutes left Williams showed his inexperience as he was dragged into touch when looking to go down the outside of Lyon. Saints moved forward from the scrum and Paul Anderson put Gilmour over off a short pass. The try was next to the sticks and Lyon converted to send his side in at half time with a slender 6-4 lead.


Trouble With the Ref
As in the first half, the second would be dominated by Saints attack and Rhinos defence.

It looked as though it might be different when JJB dislodged the ball from Andersons hands as he returned the kick-off, but two plays later and Nick Scruton lost the ball in the tackle himself.

The first score of the second half was from the boot of Lyon after Leeds were harshly judged to have interfered at the play-the-ball. Five minuytes later and Chev Walker lost the ball deep in the Rhinos half allowing Saints to swing the ball to the left and Meli to cross. Lyon's goal gave the home side a 12-4 lead and the game was drifting away from the Rhinos.

It was becoming increasingly evident that the Rhinos were running out of steam as we put in defensive set after defensive set. On sixty-five the Saints should have increased their lead but 'Pooper' Hooper decided to play basketball rather than ground the ball for a try, but in the end it didn't matter.

A Long drop goal on sixty-six sealed the points for the home side, and secured their place at the top of the table. Try as they might, the Rhinos could not get through an excellent Saints defence.

The Rhinos defended excellently in this game, but with the amount of time they spend doing so it was inevitable that they would tire. I haven't seen the stats but I'd guess that Saints had 65-70% of the posession and possibly even more of the territory. To have kept them to a hard fought nine points win was therefore a decent effort from the visitors.

There were a couple of occasions where I thought we should perhaps have gone for goal to keep the pressure on, but you have to admire the positive thought of going for the try. Williams had a decent enough debut but showed naivity on a couple of occasions by trying to get down the outside, Feather also made the most of his opportunity and didn't do anything wrong. We saw a different side to Peacock tonight too, one where he gave away silly penalties and back-chatted the referee. JP - we have Ryan Bailey to do that, you concentrate on hurting the opposition.

I'm obvioulsy disappointed at the loss, but not too upset at the performance. The lads battled hard, and as we all know, this is nothing like as strong a side as we have had for the last two seasons. The conditions were not great, and in the end we simply made more mistakes than the Saints.


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
Jones-Buchanan39%
8
Mathers18%
6
Williams16%
4
Sinfield12%
3
Burrow5%
2
Peacock4%
1
Bailey2%
1
Lauiti'iti2%
1
McGuire2%
1
Millard2%

See here for season standings.



Match Facts

Rhinos
Saints
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Mathers
1
Wellens
2
Donald
2
Gardner
3
Walker
3
Lyon
2
4
Senior
4
Talau
5
Williams
1
5
Meli
1
6
McGuire
6
Pryce
7
Burrow
7
Long
1
8
Bailey
17
Anderson, P.
9
Diskin
9
Cunningham
10
Peacock
10
Cayless
11
Lauiti'iti
11
Gilmour
1
18
Jones-Buchanan
13
Hooper
13
Sinfield
16
Hooper
14
Millard
12
Wilkin
16
Poching
14
Roby
19
Feather
19
Graham
20
Scruton
23
Fa'asavalu

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
4-6
Referee:
Ashley Klein
Crowd:
13,443


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