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Noble Picks Smiths Pocket
Posted by southstander on April 13 2006 - 22:36:33

Gotta Pick a Pocket!

All the pre-match talk was about impending departure of Bulls supremo Brian Noble to rivals Wigan, but as kick-off approached, and the atmosphere built, all minds turned to the feast we were about to be served.

A full-house saw the Headingley Carnegie Stadium packed to the rafters for the game that everyone wanted to witness. This was the benchmark for both teams to test their true ambitions for the season, it was too close to call.

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

18

Rhinos

v

Bulls

20

SLXI - Round 9

14th April 2006

Noble Picks Smiths Pocket

Leeds were without Smith, Diskin and most notably the skipper, Kevin Sinfield. Mark O'Neill had been withdrawn late in the piece, so whilst the backs had a familiar look, the pack was shuffled to compensate for the loss of the hooker and loose forward. Millard strated in the front row alongside the improving Feather and Peacock with Poching and Kirke in the second row and Ellis at loose. Four forwards on the bench signalled that Smith thought it might be a bruiser, how right he would be.

The Rhinos received kick-off defending the scoreboard end and with a decent wind at their backs. The opening hit from Fielden on his old mate Peacock set the scene for the night in a game which would see two herculean defensive efforts.

The opening fourteen minutes was an express train of fast sets, big hit-ups and crunching tackles. The crowd lapped it up and demanded more.

Having had the upper hand in the opening period, it was the Bulls who got the scoreboard moving when Silverwood penalised Leeds on their own thirty without giving a signal as to the reason. Rather than kick, the visitors tapped and three tackles later Stanley Gene went over. Deacon goaled for a six-nil lead sending the small number who managed to get tickets from Bradford into raptures. Leeds got the message and set about equalling the terms.

Leeds dominated the play up to half time, with only the occasional sortie into the Rhinos half by the Bulls. Rhinos attack after attack broke down with the line beckoning as a series of knock-ons and poor passes conspired to keep the Rhinos scoring at zero.

On thirty-two, Leeds finally broke the Bulls line. A brilliant Burrow summersault took us close before a Burrow pass found Jones-Buchanan flattening Chris McKenna before offloading to Ellis to cross next to the posts. Burrow added the extras and the sides went into the shed all square. It was to be a forty-minute ball game, with the Bulls benefitting from the second half wind.


Opener

Leeds showed their intent when on forty-three, following a high tackle by Fielden on Bailey, we elected to tap rather than kick the two. We didn't score on that six, but forced a scrum with out head and feed. Three plays later and Burrow ran the angle to skip out of a tackle and over. The pocket-rocket goaled superbly from the touchline for 12-6. Rather than kick-on, we took our foot off the gas.

On fifty-four minutes Leeds lost the ball in a one-on-one tackle which also saw us lose fifty-metres of territory. Richie Mathers argued with the referee and compounded the problem by conceeding a penalty. The Bulls took four tackles before Iestyn Harris found a gap and scored. Deacon goaled for 12-12. Now it was a twenty-six minute ball game.

Three minutes later and the Rhinos were reeling. This time a cross-field pinpoint accurate kick from Deacon found Bai who saw not resistance from his opposite number Williams as he crossed in the corner. Deacon failed to goal but we'd turned a six point lead into a four point deficit in four minutes!

Superb
On sixty-six, McGuire put in a decent cross field kick to the left which was knocked-on by Marcus Bai under pressure, straight into the hands of Richie Mathers for a walk-in try. Burrow Missed the conversion but it was all square at 16-16. We now had a fourteen minute ball game and a draw was looking increasingly possible.

On seventy-four the Rhinos hit the front again after a Burrow penalty from a high Watene tackle on Feather. All the Rhinos had to do was hold on for the remaining 360 second for a famous and hard faught victory.

But it wasn't to be.

With just two minutes left McGuire flung a pass into touch deep in the Bulls twenty and gifted them the ball back from the scrum. The Bulls worked down field and found some last resources of energy to move the ball wide right for Ferres to cross on a big overlap. Deacon failed to convert but the Bulls had the all important two point margin as the hooter sounded before we could get the restart in.

This was a cracking game of rugby, played by two sides with power and strength in a great atmosphere. Either side could have won this, but after taking a two point lead with seconds left, Tony Smith must feel like his pocket has been picked.

Great performances from Rob Burrow, Scott Donald (his best in the Blue & Amber), Chris Feather, Ali, Richie Mathers and Jamie Peacock. Rather worrying was the anonimity of Danny McGuire who had a stinker by his very high standards.

I've come away from the game feeling frustrated that we didn't get the two points which I thought on the balance of play we merited. But fair play to the Bulls who have sent their coach to Wigan on the back of a victory. Lets just hope that we can regroup in time to defend our second place at The Willows on Monday.


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
Burrow67%
8
Mathers9%
6
Ellis7%
4
Millard5%
4
Peacock5%
2
Donald4%
2
Feather4%

See here for season standings.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Bulls
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Mathers
1
1
Withers
2
Donald
2
Bai
1
3
Walker
3
Harris, B.
4
Senior
4
Hape
26
Williams
5
Vainikolo
6
McGuire
6
Harris, I.
1
7
Burrow
1
3
7
Deacon
2
19
Feather
29
Fielden
14
Millard
15
Gene
1
10
Peacock
14
Lynch
16
Poching
19
Ferres
1
22
Kirke
11
McKenna
12
Ellis
1
16
Langley
18
Jones-Buchanan
31
St. Hilaire
11
Lauiti'iti
18
Watene
8
Bailey
17
Pryce
20
Scruton
8
Vagana

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
06-06
Referee:
Richard Silverwood
Crowd:
17,700


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