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Bluey Starts with a Win
Posted by southstander on February 02 2008 - 22:13:55

Playmaker

Hull KR were first up against the defending champions in the round four fixture brought forward for the World Club Challenge at the end of February.

It was Blueys first competitive game at the helm, with a lot to live up to, and the Rhinos first competitive outing since lifting the trophy back in October.

Hull KR brought fans by the bus load and by the time kick-off arrived the atmosphere was reaching fever pitch.

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

20

Rhinos

v

Hull KR

12

Superleague XIII

Round 4

2nd February 2008

Bluey Starts with a Win

As the teams were announced we found out the JJB was out with a last minute hamstring injury, clearing the way for Nick Scruton to get the call into the seventeen. Apart from that it was the same side as defeated Saints in the Grand Final. One welcome returnee was Chev Walker, now in the Robins strip, but a useful addition to Superleague after an unsuccessful year at Bath Rugby Union.

If Leeds and their supporters thought that tonights opener would be a walkover, it didn't take long for the visitors to change our minds. Justin Morgans side were immaculately prepared for the game and seemed to have a belief that despite wholesale changes to their line-up over the close season that they could get away from Headingley with the points.

The first quarter of an hour was deadlocked. Leeds had the slight upper hand but sterling KR defence kept us at bay. A forced eror, a KR knock-on, was the luck that the Rhinos finally needed as they took full advantage from the scrum and moved the ball right and left before Senior found Donald with space to spare and squeeze over for the first of the Rhinos 2008 tries. Sinfield failed with the touchline attempt but we'd got a platform to kick-on from.

But Leeds didn't capitalise, and if anything the KR defence strengthened and they started to push for gaps.

On twenty-seven McGuire was penalised on his own line for off-side at the last play-the-ball in a set of six. Hull KR tapped and used all their extra set before Jake Webster scrambled over. Murrell missed the conversion but the visitors were back all square.

On thirty-eight Ellis was caught offside and Jake Webster kicked the penalty goal to take hisside into the interval with a slender two point lead.


Season Opener

And a worth two point lead it was. Hull KR had battered us in defence, with the Rhinos often resorting to unattractive one-man rugby to try and wear down the defence. On attack, KR seemed to have managed more half breaks than us and they were definitely causing us problems when they moved it wide.

It was going to be a tough second half.

On forty-eight Hull went close to extending their lead when McGuire knocked-on from a Walker kick-through but scrambling defence saved the day.

The game was edging towards its last quarter when Leeds were punished for a mistake. A tackle was missed by Lee Smith and Webster went forty metres to score. Mirrell added the extras and the Rhinos were 4-12 behind. Now the SouthStand was starting to get nervous and restless.

On sixty-four Ryan Bailey was denied by the video referee after appearing to hold his arm in the air in the tackle and then stretch out to score on the line. The cameras must have shown that he grounded his arm and therefore was guilty of double movement, thehope was that we'd get more chances.


Brace
One minute later and a brilliant gang tackle forced the ball out of Hull KR hands. From the resulting scrum the ball was moved left and then right with McGuire being instrumental in keeping the ball alive before Toopi put Smith in at the corner. Sinfield hit the post with the conversion attempt and the gap was down to four points.

On seventy-two a McGuire grubber kick was fumbled by the KR defender and Lee Smith got his hand to it fractionally before the skipper grounded the ball with his arm. The video referee was consulted and Lee Smith given the try. Sinfield kicked the goal for a 14-12 lead.

On seventy-six Bailey once again went right to the line but was again ruled to have grounded the ball short and the try was ruled out. Ryan won't get as close to the try line without scoring again this season, that's for sure.

Turning down two options for penalty goals in the closing second the Rhinos kept the ball alive and a superb run down the blind side from dummy half by Danny McGuire saw a try on what had been a fairly quiet performance for the Rhinos stand-off. Sinfield kicked the goal and the hooter sounded for a hard fought 20-12 victory.

I was mightily impressed with Hull KR tonight. They came with a game plan and stuck to it and it almost paid off. They were strong in defence and imaginative in attack and for the first sixty minutes of the game were worthy of their lead. Morgan will have planned for his side to peak within the next few weeks and to give themselves the best start that they can so that they can aspire to be mid-table come the end of the season. Bluey on the other hand will be looking for Leeds to be at their best in August and September, the business end of the season when the trophies are won. This meant that we were a little rusty and not at the top of our game, but take nothing away from KR, they will win games this year, and quite few of them.

Special word for the KR support which was massive, vociferous, and extremely well behaved.

In the end we took the two points, and we all have to be happy with that. The performances will come, but we need to be patient.


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
Diskin26%
8
Toopi15%
6
McGuire13%
4
Ellis11%
4
Sinfield11%
2
Peacock9%
1
Smith7%
1
Webb7%

See here for season standings.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Hull KR
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Webb
1
Briscoe
2
Donald
1
2
Fox
3
Toopi
3
Walker
4
Senior
4
Webster, Jake
2
1
5
Smith
2
5
Fitzhenry
6
McGuire
1
28
Chester
7
Burrow
7
Webster, James
8
Leuleui
20
Vella
9
Diskin
22
Netherton
10
Peacock
10
Mills
18
Kirke
11
Newton
12
Ellis
12
Galea
13
Sinfield
2
13
Murrell
1
14
Lauiti'iti
14
Gene
17
Scruton
8
Crossman
16
Bailey
17
Aizue
19
Ablett
15
Cockayne

Kick Off:
18:00
Half-Time:
04-06
Referee:
Richard Silverwood
Crowd:
18,467


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