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Rhinos Win 'Drop-a-thon'
Posted by southstander on March 18 2005 - 23:23:27

Great Try
The Rhinos took their unbeaten Superleague X record to The Willows, to take on a Salford Reds side that had never beaten them in the Superleague era. There had never been such an obvious 'away banker' with the bookies giving Salford a twenty-two point start on the coupon.

The travelling crowd from Headingley were in the ground early, but by kick-off they were matched by the home support.

The Rhinos, now without Diskin, McGuire, McKenna and Ellis were at their weakest so far this season, it would be a test.

30

Rhinos

v

Salford Reds

12

Superleague X

18th March 2005

Rhinos Win 'Drop-a-thon'

Early exchanges almost saw the Reds take a shock lead, but the Rhinos defence held firm. The precedent for the night was set early with sets of six breaking down through clumsy dropped ball by both sides. Salfords could be put down to forced errors, but the Rhinos were mainly from trying to be too expansive.

On five minutes the Rhinos registered the first points. A very dubious forward pass was missed by referee Ian Smith, and the ball was moved left by Dunemann and Senior for Bai to come inside and crash over with tacklers attached. Sinfield, impeccible with the boot all night, slotted over the extras. We breathed a small sigh of relief, we could have easily been trailing rather than leading.

On fifteen a cross field Burrow kick on the forty actually lost ground for Leeds, but a palm back into the hands of Senior allowed him to break down an increasingly exposed looking right Salford defence and pass out to Bai on the wing. Marcus made thirty metres before slipping an inside ball to Ali Lauiti'iti who crossed for a welcome score.

Sinfields boot added the extra two and despite putting the ball to ground on several occasions, it looked as though the Rhinos were finding their feet.


Mercurial

But on nineteen, the Reds showed that they weren't simply going to lie down and ship in the points. Fast play-the-balls got the Reds to within the Rhinos twenty before a massive gap appeared and Baldwin went over. Dickens converted to get the home side back within six of the Rhinos.

Then the 'drop-a-thon' got into full swing.

On twenty-four, and again on twenty-nine, Chev Walker twice dropped the ball over the Salford line, admittedly under pressure. On the second occasion the error followed a break by Lauiti'iti which had Senior clear on his left shoulder but he chose to come inside and got tackled. Leeds had become their worst enemy and were making schoolboy errors.

The travelling army's nerves were beginning to fray. Was this goig to be the night that our luck ran out and we cam crashing back to earth with a bang?

On th half-hour a high kick on the last was fumbled by the Reds in their own twenty and picked up by Leeds. Two plays later and McDermott spun out of the first tackler to score a fifteen metres try (which will have become a forty yarder by the end of the night!). Sinfield converted easily to send the sides into half time at 18-6.


Bombed Three
The clumsy first half, was followed by a worse second. Whoever said that the conditions would be great for flowing rugby obviously didn't know what he was talking about as the players made it look like they were playing in hurricane.

On forty-six McDermott went over but spilled the ball to give the Reds a twenty-metre tap. This was a game that could still go either way. The Rhinos needed to keep hold of the ball.

On forty-nine a Sinfield bomb on the last was caught in full flight by Senior who carried it for ten metres to score in the corner. Sinfield goaled from the touchline for 24-6.

The game was finally 'put to bed' after fifty-four when a Senior half-break after stepping out of the first tackle allowed him to put an inside ball to Burrow who went over next to the posts. The kick took it to 30-6, sighs of relief all round the Leeds contingent.

On sixty-one, Stewart was sin-binned after a professional foul on Walker after he'd chased him for sixty metres to tackle him just short of the Reds line. But the Rhinos couldn't make the advantage count. As the Reds returned to full compliment it was they who scored a seventy-third minute consolation after Hodgson evaded the attentions of Mathers and Bai. Robinson added to two for a final score of 30-12.

Take nothing away from the Reds, they fought hard and did well to keep us below the bookies 'spread'. Having said that, Leeds were awful with the ball in hand, or should that be 'on the ground', tonight. Walker lost the ball three times over the line when it would have been easier to score and the kicking game was almost non-existant. Praise to the forwards, especially Ward, McDermott and JJB who all played extremely well and ground out the win. But if we play like that next thursday at Odsal, the 100% record will be 'going west'.


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
Sinfield26%
8
Senior24%
6
Lauiti'iti22%
4
Bai13%
2
Burrow4%
2
Jones-Buchanan4%
2
McDermott4%

Check out the season standings here.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Reds
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Mathers
26
Bamford
2
Calderwood
2
Hodgson
1
3
Walker
3
Littler
4
Senior
1
33
McGuiness
5
Bai
1
5
Stewart
13
Sinfield
5
18
Dickens
1
7
Burrow
1
7
Robinson
1
8
Bailey
8
Coley
14
Dunemann
9
Alker
15
Ward
10
Rutgerson
11
Lauiti'iti
1
22
Baldwin
1
16
Poching
12
Sibbit
18
Jones-Buchanan
20
Jonkers
22
Scruton
17
Haggerty
17
McDonald
21
Clough
21
Botham
23
Brocklehurst
10
McDermott
1
27
Stringer

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
18-06
Attendance:
5,118
Referee:
Ian Smith


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