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Reds No Walkover
Posted by southstander on March 18 2006 - 00:01:58

Genius

I suggested in the preview that tonights match was likely to be a lot closer than the bookies thought (+20 to Salford) and that we'd probably be biting our nails with ten minutes to go. As it turned out I was spot on as a determined Reds side made the Rhinos fight every step of the way.

The lads will be bruised and battered after a close game, played a breakneck speed and without the fussy interference of a fussy referee.

This is what rugby league is all about, hard fought, close and fast. It was a pleasure to watch.

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

20

Rhinos

v

Reds

12

SLXI - Round 6

17th March 2006

Reds No Walkover

Smith was without Jamie Peacock, Mark O'Neill, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Danny Williams for tonights visit of high flying Salford. It was third against fourth, with a leap over tonights losers in the Saints v. Bradford game as the prize for the victors. Salford were not going to be a walkover by any stretch of the imagination.

From the outset it was clear that Harrisons close season had been spent working on his defence, as the Rhinos dominance of the opening exchanges failed to bear fruit. Attacking the new stand end, the Rhinos were thwarted in attack after attack and their early dominance didn't trouble the scorers thanks to sensational Reds defending and the odd bout of clumsiness with the ball.

Against the run of play it was Salford who opened the scoring after nineteen minutes when Senior fumbled the ball five metres from the Reds line. The ball was picked up by Hodgson who went ninety-five metres to score in the corner. He failed to convert his own try, however, the small but vociferous travelling support were in raptures. Their side had held the Rhinos for twenty minutes and hit them on the counter!

The Reds soon settled back into their defensive pattern and frustrated the Rhinos for another twenty minutes. With the half-time hooter imminent there was a Salford knock-on around thirty metres out. McGuire picked the ball from the base of the scrum, ran across field drawing the outside centre and full-back before flonging a high ball to Donald on the wing. Scott caught the ball high above his head, brought it back in to his chest and headed for the corner. The hooter sounded when he was five metres out but he grounded the ball in the corner. Sinfield converted brilliantly and the Rhinos had stolen a 6-4 half-time lead.


Try Scorer and Saver

Harrison and his side must have felt like they had been mugged. Solid defence for forty minutes had been broken with seconds on the clock and a hard fought lead had been snatched at the death. Leeds, on the other hand, had managed a score at just the right time. Despite not receiving a single first half penalty, we'd made the pressure pay and given ourselves a massive lift before the interval.

Two minutes into the second half and the Rhinos finally got their first penalty of the game for holding down, but rather than take a simple kick we elected to run the ball and it came to nothing.

On forty-seven Robinson broke the Leeds line and looked a certainty to score when Scott Donald game from nowhere and made a sensational try saving tackle. He dislodged the ball and the Rhinos picked up but immediately knocked on. From the scrum the Reds moved the ball left and Langi bulldozed his way over. Hodgson missed the conversion but his side had scrambled the lead once again.


Classy Kirke
On fifty-six, the Rhinos had been up against it. Several fast play-the-balls and fast hands passes saw the ball end up with Walker on the right wing. He pinned back his ears and went fifty metres down the North Stand touchline to score in the corner. Sinfield failed to goal but Leeds were back with a narrow 10-8 lead.

On sixty-seven, and with the Reds starting to tire from their extensive defensive stint, McGuire threw a dummy and ran the angle to the right to dive over and score. Sinfield missed again, and easier chance this time, but Leeds were six points clear.

The Reds, however, would not lie down.

On seventy-two, and after two outrageous breaks of the Rhinos line, Moule passed brilliantly off the floor to Finnigan who went over twenty metres left of the Leeds sticks. Hodgson simply had to convert to level the scores, but he missed a simple conversion and the Rhinos retained a slender 14-12 lead.

Danny McGuire finally put the game beyond the visitors with a mirror image of his earlier try. Once again he ran the angle, this time to the left, and threw an outrageous dummy before diving over the line to secure Rhinos victory. Sinfield added the extras and the Rhinos had a hard fought 20-12 win.

Salford came to defend and hit us on the break and Harrisons game plan came very close to working. This is the best Salfored side that I have seen in the Superleague era and they will definitely surprise a side or two this year. I'd back them for a top six finish and can see them embarrassing other top six sides as they progress through the season.

One thing that struck me about todays game was the great spirit and the great speed with which it was played, both of which made it extremely interesting to watch. Ball handling skills weren't at their best, but the crunching defence from both sides was awesome. Once again I thought the Rhinos played as well as Salford allowed them and in the end we got two points that we could easily have lost.

A big mention for Chris Feather and Ian Kirke, both of whom stepped up to the plate and did what was asked of them. Special mention too for Danny McGuire, at long last he's showing signs of being right back to his best.

Well done Leeds on getting up to second, two more points at the Stoop next week please.


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
McGuire54%
8
Feather19%
6
Burrow6%
6
Poching6%
4
Sinfield4%
2
Kirke3%
2
Mathers3%
2
Millard3%
2
Walker3%

See here for season standings.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Reds
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Mathers
1
Fitzpatrick
2
Donald
1
2
Hodgson
1
3
Walker
1
19
Littler
4
Senior
4
Moule
5
Smith
15
Langi
1
6
McGuire
2
6
Dunemann
7
Burrow
7
Robinson
8
Bailey
22
Baldwin
9
Diskin
9
Alker
19
Feather
14
Highton
12
Ellis
23
Brocklehurst
16
Poching
8
Coley
13
Sinfield
2
11
Finnigan
1
14
Millard
20
Clough
11
Lauiti'iti
12
Sibbit
22
Kirke
17
Haggerty
20
Scruton
5
Stewart

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
06-04
Referee:
Ron Laughton
Crowd:
15,242


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