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Rhinos Scrape Past Plucky Reds
Posted by southstander on February 11 2007 - 18:34:55

Whistle Happy

It was a fantastic Rhinos following that made the sunday afternoon journey over to Salford for the season opener and swelled the crowd to in excess of eight thousand.

After last seasons close run games this was never going to be a pushover, but the lure of Brent Webb and Kylie Leuleui's debut was too much for the Rhinos fans to miss.

After a couple of topsy-turvey results in Round I we were all hoping that the Rhinos wouldn't be the next victims of opening night jitters. We bring you all the action here...

30

Rhinos

v

Reds

26

SLXII - Round I

11th February 2007

Rhinos Scrape Past Plucky Reds

Lee Smith was the unlucky player to miss out on the seventeen with our boy Ash Gibson selected on the wing. We were, of course, without Jamie Peacock who was still nursing the injury sustained in Keiths' testimonial against the Giants. It still looked like a strong squad that took the field in bright sunshine and in front of packed Salford terraces. Leeds kicked off faing into the sunlight and towards the famous 'Willows' club end.

It took just two minutes before new signing Brent Web made his mark. Salford had been penalised for 'interference' the first of far too many penalties in the game, when a good strong run from Leuleui saw a pass to Webb to cross and score with his first touch of the ball in his new league. Sinfield failed to convert but it was a dream start.

Four minutes later and once again Salford paid for a dubious 'crossing' manouvre under the new RFL edict (this one won't last much longer). Leeds kicked for position from the half-way line and then Leuleui powered close before Danny McGuire burrowed over from acting half-back. Sinfield added the two and it was 10-0 after just six minutes. The Salford supporters must have wondered if their bubble had bust very early in the season...seasoned Rhinos supporters knew different.

The scoreboard was showing nine minutes when poor defensive cover down the Leeds right, coupled with fast Salford play-the-balls saw Wilshire over in the corner. Robinson mised the conversion attempt from out wide but narrowed the gap to a single converted score.

On sixteen it was narrowed further when a Sinfield high tackle (a very rare commodity) was punished from in front of the sticks. Five minutes later and with Gibson lying injured in back play, the Rhinos had a lucky escape as Wilshire lost the ball prior to grounding, Leeds were taking a hammering and just holding on by the skin of their teeth.


Five Goals

After holding off wave after wave of Salford pressure, the Rhinos stuck back on thirty-four, somewhat against the run of play. On a rare sortie into the Salford twenty, Burrow went off the left, then the right, foot as the Salford tacklers went too high and the pocket rocket grounded the ball. Sinfield converted for a ten point lead. As we were looking for Leeds to hold on for the half-time hooter Salford committed the cardinal sin an put the kick-off straight in to dead beyond the goal line.

Kicking for position, Leeds used the remaining seconds to get downfield and McGuire and Toopi combined to put Webb over for his second of the match. Sinfield converted and the hooter sounded a 22-6 lead for the visitors, somewhat unfairly on the Reds who had battled hard with little to show for their eforts.


Crucial Try
It took just two minutes of the second half for the Reds to get themselves back into the game as Wilshire crossed for his second. Robinson missed the conversion leaving the score at 22-10. On the next play the Rhinos lost the ball and as Robinson broke for the corner Senior hauled him down but then held on for too long and Mr Smith sent him to the bin for ten minutes.

Half a dozen penalties later and the twelve man Leeds watched on as Moule went over next to the sticks. Robinson goaled and it was game-on with Salford back within a converted try at 22-16.

The minutes ticked away and the Rhinos defence held until Senior was allowed back on the park after his ten minutes forced absence.

On fifty-eight Sinfield goaled a penalty after Webb was held back whilse chasing a grubber right in front of the Reds sticks. It was breathing space. It could have been all over on sixty when a Sinfield 40-20 (yes you did read that right) put us in a great position. From the scrum Ellis went close but lost the ball when stretching out to score, thanks to some Salford hands. The referee made the right decision and gave a 20m restart, it was Gareths job to keep hold of the ball!

With fourteen minutes remaining a highkick to the corner was fumbled by Wilshire and Tansey was first to ground the ball in the goal area. Sinfield goaled well in a swirling wind for 30-16 and you felt it was just too much for a Salford comeback.

All credit to the Reds. In a gutsy last ten minutes they managed tries from Haggarty, who crashed over from short-range, and from Moule who exploited a big hole in the Leeds defence to score his second of the afternoon. Robinson converted the Haggarty try but failed with his second leaving the Rhinos to holdon for a nailbiting last five minutes to seal a four point win.

This was a bad tempered game which was ill-refereed. Smith was penalising some incidents but then showing no consistency. It is almost as if the referees have been given a penalty quota that they have to meet. It simply detracts from the entertainment and for the most part is unnecessary. Leeds were badly done by in the first half, and the lads were getting wound up by Smith's inconsistencies. Salford can also count themselves unlucky to have been on the receiving end of several dubious decisions.

This wasn't a champagne Rhinos performance either but we played badly and got the points. If we can keep doing that we'll e in the mix at the end of the season. On this performace Salford may be too.

I was very impressed with both Webb and Leuleui on their debuts and McGuire, Burrow and Sinfield all seemed to be there or there abouts. Some stupidity from big Ali and some very dodgy tackling technique across the park raised concern. You also have to wonder if this really is the world class Clinton Toopi that we signed, or some poor imitation.

Next week at home to Hull FC will be a bigger test, despite their home draw with the Catalans today. We need to pull our socks up!


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
Webb49%
8
Sinfield21%
6
Ellis15%
4
Senior5%
4
Leuleui5%
2
Burrow3%
2
Diskin3%

See here for season standings.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Reds
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Webb
2
2
Hodgson
2
Donald
22
Halliwell
3
Toopi
3
McGuiness
4
Senior
4
Moule
2
20
Gibson
5
Wilshire
2
6
McGuire
1
6
Dorn
7
Burrow
1
7
Robinson
3
16
Bailey
8
Coley
9
Diskin
9
Alker
8
Leuleui
24
Jewitt
14
Lauiti'iti
11
Edmondson
12
Ellis
19
Littler
13
Sinfield
5
13
Finnegan
17
Scruton
10
Korkidas
11
Jones-Buchanan
17
Haggarty
1
15
Thackray
18
Adamson
23
Tansey
1
16
Brocklehurst

Kick Off:
15:00
Half-Time:
22-06
Referee:
Ian Smith
Crowd:
8,072


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