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Rhinos Cruise to Easy Victory
Posted by southstander on March 24 2005 - 23:38:34

Sensational
On paper this was going to be the Rhinos toughest Superleague test so far this season.

A trip to Odsal, to take on a Bulls resurgent with four out of the last four, in front of their partisan crowd...It was not the ideal start to the bank holiday weekend.

Many Rhinos fans, especially those who had witnessed last weeks lacklustre performance against Salford, travelled in hope more than expectation. We had no knowledge of how proud our lads would do us over the next eighty minutes.

42

Rhinos

v

Bulls

12

Superleague X

24th March 2005

Rhinos Cruise to Easy Victory

Wayne McDonald was named eighteenth man, giving Nick Scruton another chance to impress. McGuire was still out, and with Diskin long-term injured the Rhinos were without two try scorers from the Grand Final. It was likely that the Rhinos would have to raise their game to a different level to overcome a Bulls desperate for revenge.

The Rhinos started the game defending the hospitality boxes and straight into the six thousand plus supporters that had made the short trip. Bradford had the upper hand in the early exchanges, and after eight minutes, Rhinos carelessness allowed them to snatch the lead. As the Rhinos brought the ball from their own line, Mathers and Ellis found themselves stranded behind the Leeds line on the last tackle, unable to get boot to ball. Confusion between the pair coughed the ball into the hands of Karl Pryce who had an easy thirty metre saunter to score under the posts. Deacon goaled and it was the worst imaginable start.

Despite several fruitless exchanges, it was apparent that the Rhinos were starting to gain the upper hand. On twenty, after two bodged chances, Dunemann put in a forty-metre cross-field 'crab', went through a gap in the mesmerised Bulls defence and passed outside to Walker to score. Sinfields goal levelled the scores, and we breathed a little easier.

We should have kicked on, but despite dominating the game we couldn't take the lead.


100% Again

On thirty-five a Dunemann kick on the last was caught, and lost, by McDermott as he collided with the goalpost. The ball appeared to go backwards, be collected by Calderwood and scored, but the video referee disallowed the try. The Rhinos redoubled their efforts.

With just a minute left on the big clock, McDermott made a break and offloaded to Mathers who made another ten metres before putting a clever inside pass to Ellis to round the full-back and score under the sticks. Sinfield goal sent the Rhinos into the interval with a narrow 12-6 lead.

The Bulls had thrown everything at Leeds in the opening ten minutes, but apart from making one mistake to ship in the Pryce try, the defence had been top notch. Mistakes, mostly unforced, in attack kept the Rhinos scoring possibly twelve points below what it should have been, and kept Bradford in the game.

At the start of the second half, the Bulls did the unthinkable...levelled the scores.

Bai was tackled in goal and the dropout forced. The Bulls returned well and Reardon went over, apparently on his back. The video referee studied the play long and hard before awarding the try, which Deacon failed to convert.

Three minutes later and a high tackle by Mathers on the Leeds line was punished by a Deacon penalty. We were squared up at 12-12 and there was some trepidation amongst the Leeds contingent. But our lads showed no fear, and set about putting the record straight.


Good From Bench
Leeds dominance of the second half started with the stadium clock showing fifty minutes.

Senior broke after the ball had been moved to the left. He passed to Marcus Bai who went forty metres down the wing before passing inside to the supporting, and unmarked, Senior. Keith cruised behind the sticks allowing Sinfield to maintain his 100% record.

Two minutes later and Sinfield, Ellis, and Botham combined to put Rob Burrow through a gap to scamper over. The conversion made it 24-12 and the Bulls lost the wind from their sails.

Now it was time for the travelling support to start enjoying the game, as the Rhinos turned on the style over a broken and very mediocre Bulls side.

On sixty-two a superb inside ball from Sinfield found Ellis who broke downfield, passing inside just before being clattered by Leon Pryce. The ball glanced off a Bulls hand and was collected by Sinfield to cross the whitewash. He goaled his own for 30-12. Those wearing the Rhinos logo were grinning from ear-to-ear while those with the Bulls motif flocked for the exits.

Two tries in three minutes put the icing on the Rhinos cake.

On seventy-three a Burrow break found Calderwood who went twenty-metres to touch down on the line just before being bundled into touch. Sinfield converted faultlessly from the touchline for 36-12 to chants of 'easy, easy'.

Three minutes later and a Senior break through an exhausted Bulls defence allowed him to find Burrow inside who scampered in for the final try of the night. Sinfields conversion took the score to 42-12 and the Bulls were well and truly routed.

This was not a great Leeds performance, and the Bulls put up less opposition that Hull, Saints or even Salford. The Rhinos never needed to get out of second gear, and after weathering early pressure at the start of each half, they demolised a side which is a mere shadow of the Bulls side of past seasons.

This is now five wins in the last six games against the Bulls, will you believe me now when I say that the balance of Rugby League power has shifted in Yorkshire? The Bulls are dead, Long live the Rhinos!

P.S. The Fans that flocked to the Bulls when they were successful are most welcome at Headingley. Rhinos replica shirts are available in XXXL.


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
Sinfield33%
8
Senior17%
6
Burrow16%
4
Ellis14%
3
Dunemann12%
2
Mathers3%
1
Botham1%
1
Calderwood1%
1
McDermott1%

Check out the season standings here.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Bulls
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Mathers
3
Pryce L.
2
Calderwood
1
5
Vainikolo
3
Walker
1
19
Langley
4
Senior
1
22
Pryce K.
1
5
Bai
17
Reardon
1
13
Sinfield
1
7
18
Harris
7
Burrow
2
7
Deacon
2
8
Bailey
8
Vagana
14
Dunemann
1
Paul
15
Ward
29
Fielden
11
Lauiti'iti
10
Meyers
12
McKenna
12
Peacock
20
Ellis
1
11
Radford
22
Scruton
14
Lynch
16
Poching
15
Pratt
21
Botham
25
Ferres
10
McDermott
27
Parker

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
12-06
Attendance:
22,843
Referee:
Karl Kirkpatrick


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