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Rhinos Gift Wrap the Two Points for Les
Posted by southstander on June 29 2007 - 22:25:19

Big Les's Night

Headingley was packed to the rafters and we caught a rare glimpse of summer sun as the Bradford Bulls were in town with plans to throw a leaving party for Big Les Vainikolo.

Leeds were looking to complete a hat-trick of wins against the old enemy in 2007.

Someone was going to be disappointed, and twenty-thousand Rhinos fans had their fingers crossed that it wouldn't be them.

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

14

Rhinos

v

Bulls

38

SLXII - Round 18

29th June 2007

Rhinos Gift Wrap the Two Points for Les

The Rhinos skipper must have lost the toss as we started the game defending the Carnegie Stands and gazing into a bright setting sun and from the outset we were on the back foot as the Bulls set out their controls for vengeance.

In the early exchanges the only time the Rhinos got out of theirown half was when Burrow put in relieving kicks which went dead in goal. Early pressure down Leeds left soon exposed Lee Smith and Clinton Toopi's wing and the pair looked in for a torrid night. It was fitting that, on ten, Vainikolo got the opening try in his last game for the Bulls. He'd collected the ball on the forty metres and managed to use his strength to spin out of attempted tackles from Webb and Peacock before crossing. Deacon kicked the extras and we were behind.

Three minutes later and a superb passing move, again down the Leeds right, almost ended in a Langley try but he was hauled down short of the line and the Bulls lost the ball on the next play.

On nineteen, the Rhinos finally got into the Buls twenty but McGuire lost the ball in what seemed to be a two-man tackle but Platt picked up the lose ball and went on long run down centre field. Two plays later and Leeds were penalised for offside and Deacon accepted the offer of two points.

On twenty-four the nerves of the SouthStand collectively lifted as after Leuleui had gone close, Diskin barged over from acting half-back. Bentham went to the video referee for confirmation but the try was never in doubt. Sinfield, uncharacteristically, missed from twenty left of the sticks.

Three minutes later we had the chance to take the lead but as Senior broke to the Bulls thirty he chose the wrong option and offloaded inside to Leuleui rather than outside to Lee Smith on the overlap. Kylie put the ball to ground and the chance was wasted.


Leeds Opener

With four minutes of the half remaining a Deacon cross-field kick on the last tackle was collected by Evans under no pressure from the three Rhinos defenders who were all within a metre of him. He dropped to the ground, just over the line, for a simple try. Deacon goaled for 4-14 and it looked like the second half would be an uphill struggle.

But with just over a minute remaining the Rhinos took full advantage of a Bulls knock-on by driving the ball up from the scrum. A couple of tackles in and Sinfield threw a massive pass to the wing which was collected brilliantly by Smith who took Vainikolo on the outside and went over in the corner. Sinfield missed again but we were into half-time with just a six point deficit. We were still right in it.

Tony Smith immediately diagnosed the problem, or someone pointed it out to him, that we were exposed down the right and for the second half he swapped the centres with Senior adding some steel to Lee Smiths wing. The only problem now was that the Bulls were going to ranpage down the middle.

The half was twelve minutes old when Tupou went over in the corner. To the lay-man it looked as though he lost control before he grounded the ball but the expert video referee ruled a try on a single look...payback perhaps? Deacon goaled brilliantly from the touchline to re-establish the twelve point lead. We were still in the game but now definitely playing catch-up.


Still Consussed?
On fifty-seven Webb got his now customary try off a superb short ball from Burrow. This time captain Kev goaled from bang in-front and it looked like it was game on again as the Bulls were visibly tiring.

But then we hit self-destruct, gifting two tries in two minutes.

On sixty-minutes Bailey dropped the ball in an attempted offload on his own ten metres and from the scrum Lynch used his strength to power over and ground the ball on the line. Deacon goaled for 26-14.

Leeds were now forcing the pass to once again get back into the game but two minutes later and McGuire threw a shocker to no-one on the half-way line and the Bulls picked it up and Morrison took a pass to go forty to score under the sticks. Deacond took the score to 14-32.

Leeds tried, and tried, but an exhausted Bulls managed to keep them at bay. With four minutes left, and the game lost, McGuire threw another wayward pass and this time it was picked up by St Hilaire who went in unopposed. Deacons conversion gave us the final score of 14-38 and the Bulls had taken the points from us at HQ.

There wasn't twenty-four points between these two teams on tonights showing and in all honest we gifted the points to the Bulls with three daft mistakes. Everything we tried failed, and everything the Bulls did came off. All credit to McNamaras men, they worked hard tonight and deserved the win. Great Leeds performances from Diskin, Burrow, JJB, Peacock and Leuleui, but I'm not convinced Danny McGuire was 100%.

I thought that Bentham was a little enigmatic and despite a level penalty count (at 7-7) I felt that every 50-50 went in favour of the Bulls. Perhaps now that the RFL have made recompense for their Millennium error we can get back to normal?

Anyway...how fitting it was for the lads to gift the game to the Bulls and give Les a fitting send off!


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
Sinfield25%
8
Leuleui17%
6
Burrow14%
5
Donald11%
4
Webb11%
3
Diskin8%
3
Peacock8%
1
Jones-Buchanan3%
1
Thackray3%

See here for season standings.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Bulls
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Webb
1
19
Platt
2
Donald
1
St. Hilaire
1
3
Toopi
2
McAvoy
4
Senior
17
Evans
1
5
Smith
1
5
Vainikolo
1
6
McGuire
26
Solomona
7
Burrow
7
Deacon
7
16
Bailey
8
Vagana
9
Diskin
1
9
Newton
10
Peacock
10
Lynch
1
11
Jones-Buchanan
11
McKenna
12
Ellis
13
Langley
13
Sinfield
1
12
Morrison
1
23
Tansey
16
Henderson
18
Kirke
18
Burgess
15
Thackray
20
Tupou
1
8
TLeuleui
23
James

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
08-14
Referee:
Phil Bentham
Crowd:
22,000 (Capacity)


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