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Champion Chumps
Posted by southstander on December 26 2007 - 15:48:21

Skipper

It was a familiar Boxing Day site. Rhinos fans queueing out of the ground as kick-off approached thanks to the unpreparedness of the Headingley gate staff.

Once we'd parted with an extortionate 17 each (a lack of change being a big part of the problem), we were presented with yet another festival norm, the Rhinos Academy dominating the teamsheet.

I wonder how long this 'traditional' fixture has left, my feeling is that this will be the last one that is anything like well attended.

Nevertheless, with the only alternative being the start of the 'sales', we bring you all of the action here......

18

Rhinos

v

Wildcats

26

Meaninless Pre-Season

Runout

26th December 2007

Champion Chumps

It was a Rhinos side with just six of the Grand Final winning side, those not selected for international duty at the end of Superleague XII. The ranks of Diskin, Donald, Bailey, Smith, Ablett and Kirke were bolstered by Nick Scrutons return from injury, Danny Williams return from loan, and Thackrays return from the wilderness. That said, the make-up of the team was mostly enthusiatic Academy players, who looked no match on paper for a full strength Wildcats side who had a point to prove.

Leeds dominated early play an went close twice within the opening few minutes. But totally against the run of play it was the Wildcats who opened the scoring in-front of the Carnegie Stand. A daft Leeds penalty gave the visitors good field position and Obst took full advantage by going over under the posts. Brough added the extras.

Two minutes later and the 'Cats doubled their try tally. This time a superb chip kick to the wing found Blanch who outpaced Williams on the outside to score in the corner. This time Brough failed to add the extras but the Rhinos were reeling from the shock at 10-0 down.

It was to get worse. On eighteen Wakefield worked downfield and an itial drive was held up over the line before Scott Crix collected a grubber, almost unchallenged, to score. Brough's goal gave the visitors a 16-0 lead and sent their supporters into ecstacy.

Leeds needed to fight back quick before the game slipped away. On twenty-three, and showing a lot more determination, cross field kick was collected well by Hall under pressure and he forced his way over to score. Tansey missed from the touchline. With six minutes of the half remaining Leeds got up to half the Wildcats points when a chip over was fumbled over the try line by the 'Cats defence and Williams got a hand on the loose ball. Tansey failed to convert again but it looked like we'd be just eight points behind going into the interval.

But once again the Rhinos concentration lapsed. On thirty-seven Donald dropped the ball as he tried to bust the line and Wakefield picked up the loose ball, moving it well to the right for Blanch to cross for his second. Brough goaled well from the touchline for a half-time lead of 22-8, you felt that the game was already beyond the Leeds youngsters as the first teamers showed some pre-season rustiness.

Leeds totally dominated the opening exchanges of the second half. On forty-seven Thackray went close and with a quick play-the-ball Haley dove over off a reverse pass. Tansey managed to kick the goal from right under the sticks and the gap was back to eight points.

Leeds were still dominating, but unable to find a way through, right up until the seventy-second minute when the Wildcats first foray into the Leeds half resulted in a try as a grubber was fumbled in the Leeds defence and Atkins touched down.

With six minutes left the tray of the game was thanks to a Hall intercept on his own thirty before he sprinted downfield and outpaced the cover tacklers. Tansey couldn't add the extras and the game fizzled out with a convincing defeat by 18-26.

What will coach McClennan have learnt from today? Perhaps to abolish the fixture in favour of a quiet Christmas for the lads and more productive training? He may have determined that Scruton and Burgess are better prospects than Thackray and Bailey. He may have learn't that Jordan Tansey is no kicker, and he may have learnt that captaincy doesn't help Matt Diskin raise his game.

Apart from that, he'll have learnt little else!

Match Facts

Rhinos
Wildcats
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Donald
1
Reilly
2
Hall
2
2
Blanch
2
3
Ratu
3
Gleeson
4
Smith
4
Atkins
1
5
Williams
1
5
George
6
Tansey
1
6
Grix
1
7
Gale
7
Brough
3
8
Scruton
8
Bibey
9
Diskin
9
Obst
1
10
Thackray
10
Sculthorpe
11
Kirke
11
Henderson
12
Bailey
12
MacGilivray
13
Ablett
13
Ferguson
14
Kaye
14
Wilkes
15
Burgess
15
Bibb
16
Haley
1
16
Murphy
17
Broughton
17
Wood
18
Allan
18
Pitts

Kick Off:
11:30
Half-Time:
08-22
Referee:
Ben Thaler
Crowd:
10,143


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