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Rhinos Hold on to Spoil Australia Day
Posted by southstander on January 26 2008 - 20:29:19

Opener

Was I there?....Nope!

But thanks to 1010XL 'jax sports radio' I did get to listen to the majority of the game, mixed with some fantastic Americana.

The Rhinos ended their week-long warm weather training with an Australia Day Challenge match against Russell Crowes Sydney Rabbitohs at the Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville.

Last years Australia seventh were taking on the Superleague Champions, and internet radio was my lifeline.

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

26

Rhinos

v

Rabbitohs

24

Pre-Season

Australia Day Challenge

Jacksonville, Florida, USA

26th January 2008

Rhinos Hold on to Spoil Australia Day

Both sides named large squads for a game to be played in temperatures of around ten degrees with fog or rain. Sydney named 22, with McClennn selecting 24. Both coaches will have wanted to give all travelling players a run-out, and after all, the predominantly American audience would be used to a large number of interchanges. This was always a game that would be about Rugby League evangelism rather than a competitive match. The spectacle would be what was important.

The game kicked off thirty-five minutes late due to a mixture of weather problems and crowd congestion. The Rhinos received the ball first from the Rabbitohs kick-off and made good metres.

With just three minutes on the clock the Rabbitohs went close, but put the ball to ground with the line begging. Leeds then took great advantage from a refereeing blunder when what sounded like a knock-on from an Ellis pass which was overlooked, and Diskin touched down. Sinfield kicked the goal for 6-0. The aussie commentator on 1010XL went potty.

On seven minutes the Rabbitohs went close when Champion picked up a bouncing ball off the upright but knocked it on over the line. Leeds breathed a sigh of relief and carried the ball back downfield. Three minutes later and the Rabbitohs were back in scoring territory but again they couldn't get over the whitewash.

On seventeen, a long ball from Ben Rogers was intercepted by Lee Smith who passed to Toopi and then Webb who then went seventy metres for a long-range try. Sinfield added the extras for 12-0. On minute later and Leeds took another intercept with McGuire benefitting from a big hit on Lowe to go to the Rabbitohs thirty-five. Quarter time was upon us with the score at 12-0.

Dead on seven o'clock UK time we were off again.

With the quarter two minutes old a McGuire grubber behind the defensive line which was kicked on by Diskin before Burrow got his hand on the ball. Sinfield kicked the extra two and the Rabbitohs good start the the quarter came to nothing with the Rhinos establishing an 18-0 lead.

On twenty-seven, after Burrow had been held up, Senior bust the line to dive over. Sinfield hit the right hand upright and missed the conversion but it was now 22-0 and looking like a walk in the park for the Rhinos.


Great Game

With seconds left in the half a Burrow kick through was touched down in the corner by Scott Donald. Sinfield missed a difficult conversion chance but we were 26-0 ahead at half-time, but it sounded like a scoreline which didn't do justice to the play. Leeds defence and many Sydney mistakes gave us our lop-sided standing.

First score for the second half saw the Rabbitohs over the whitewash. Ben Rogers picked up after a Greenfield kick through to score. Peae added the extras for 26-6.


Fisticuffs
A few minutes later, on sixty-five, Luke stepped twice before dragging defenders with him and going over to get the Aussies back in the game at 26-10. Luke converted his own try for 26-12.

With a couple of minutes left, Ali Lauiti'iti got over the line but was held up. Seconds later Ali passed to Senior but he spilled the ball over the line. Leeds were making a fist of it and trying to stop the rot that had crept into the third quarter. The Rabbitohs came close with the last play of the quarter but the Rhinos had survived.

Three minutes into the final quarter and the Rabbitohs were starting to make the second half all theirs as Paea went over after beating three men. Isaac Luke added the extras for 26-18, now we had a real game on our hands.

With seconds remaining in the game Barnes went close but was held up short. The referee awarded a penalty for holding and then some punches were exchanged, involving Keith Senior. With the clock counting down Ndaira went over for another Rabbitohs score and then converted his own try to give us a final score of 26-24.

The Rhinos had taken the win but it had been a game of two halves. The Rabbitohs were nilled in the first forty minutes and returned the honour in the second. Once again McClennan will have learnt very little but the lads will have benefitted from warm weather training and a competitive match.

Bring on next saturday and the game against Hull KR.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Sydney
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Webb
1
1
Champion
5
Smith
5
Hegarty
3
Toopi
15
Gordon
4
Senior
1
3
Talanoa
2
Donald
1
2
Paulson
6
McGuire
6
Rogers
1
7
Burrow
1
7
Paea
1
1
8
Leuleui
8
Greenfield
9
Diskin
1
9
Luke
1
2
10
Peacock
10
Manuokafoa
11
Jones-Buchanan
12
Lowe, B.
12
Ellis
11
Stuart
13
Sinfield
3
13
Sutton
14
Lauiti'iti
14
Falloon
17
Scruton
26
Ndaira
1
1
18
Kirke
18
Lowe, J.
19
Ablett
19
Pettybourne
20
Gibson
29
McPherson
21
Tansey
21
Simpson
22
Hall
17
Huihahau
23
Williams
24
Barnes
24
Burgess
25
Taminika
26
Kaye
30
Haley

Kick Off:
18:30
Half-Time:
26-00
Referee:
Phil Bentham
Crowd:
12,000+


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