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Lucky, Lucky, Leeds!
Posted by southstander on April 02 2005 - 17:11:04

Maestro
The magic of the cup today returned to Headingley as the BBC roadshow descended on headquarters, to witness the Rhinos against the Wolves in the tie of the round.

Leeds had a point to prove after last mondays defeat against Wakefield, but Warrington would be full of confidence after their own win over fellow strugglers Widnes on Tuesday.

The bookies predicted a big Leeds win, but those who know what a lack of confidence can do to the Blue & Ambers suspected that it could be a close one.

26

Rhinos

v

Wolves

22

Challenge Cup - Round 4

2nd April 2005

Lucky. Lucky, Leeds!

Tony Smith dropped, or should that be rested, Wayne McDonald and Barrie McDermott, leaving us looking a little light in the front line. Dunemann, Jones-Buchanan and Ward all returned, the former bringing a huge sigh of relief. Warrington looked strong, but were without Kohe-Love. Nathan Woods return would be a big boost for the Wire.

Early exchanges went the Rhinos way, with most play taking place in the Wolves half. With their backs to the scoreboard, it was Leeds who registered the first points of the game. A high 'up and under' on the last from Sinfield was tipped back by Calderwood into the hands of McKenna. The aussie second rower took the ball inside, creating space and drawing the defence before passing outside to the supporting Rob Burrow. Burrow ran the angle, and then improved it in-goal. Sinfield failed to take advantage, hitting the far post with the kick.

On ten minutes, Leeds started to show the form that had been absent on monday. A good break made good ground down field. Burrow went through a gap and offloaded in the tackle to McKenna, who had to pick the ball up off his toes. The Wolves defence opened and McKenna walked over to score. Sinfield converted for 10-0, it was a point a minute, this was better.

But we'd thought too soon. Warrington, inspired by Nathan Wood, launched a comeback.

On sixteen, a poor decision from Ganson penalised Senior on the Wolves line when Briers was all over his back. Warrington broke down field and with a kick on the last bouncing towards the Leeds line, Nathan Wood collected and scored. Bridge converted to put the visitors within four points of the Rhinos.


Good Comeback Game

Leeds then took back the initiative, but bombed several efforts deep in Wolves territory. Twenty minutes would pass before the next score, and it would be a shock to the home support.

On thirty-five, a Briers 40-20 gained good field position, and four plays later Clarke seemed to lose the ball after clattering into the upright. Ganson went to the video referee, and despite the first reaction of both players and crowd, the video ref gave the try. Bridge goaled to give the Wolves a lead that looked so unlikely after ten minutes.

With a minute remaining, the Rhinos regained the lead to take into half-time. A Rhinos kick took a couple of rebounds before being 'hoofed' into the hands of Burrow who broke the Wolves line before putting a superb flick pass to Calderwood to score unopposed. Sinfield goaled for a 16-12 half-time lead for the Rhinos.

We were comfortable that we were in the lead, but the Wolves were proving a tough test. Our forwards were losing the battle, and it was only the skill and dedication of Burrow and Dunemann that were keeping us in the game. We needed to kick on...and fast.

Nerves would be eased six minutes into the second session. The youngsters combined brilliantly for a great 'young guns' try. A Burrow break from inside his own half to the Wolves thirty-five saw a pass to Mathers, then McGuire who flung a pass out into space right where Burrow was on hand to collect and scamper over. Sinfield missed from the northstand touchline but we had opened up an eight point margin.


Hard Slog
On fifty-three, Burrow was again the architect. A kick on the last by the little scrum half bounced awkwardly for the Wolves defence and was collected above his head by Walker who went thirty-five to score under the sticks.

The Sinfield conversion took us to 26-12 and we all felt that we could breath a little more easily. Warrington looked to be tiring, and this seemed too much of a margin for them to overcome.

But the Wolves weren't finished. On fifty-six, a Briers chip was knocked-forwards and collected in one movement by Nathan Wood to score his second of the game. The Bridge conversion gave us 26-18.

Eight minutes later and the deficit was down to four points after Leeds allowed Warrington an intercept and break down-field. Briers was provider as he passed to Westwood on the wrap-around to score in front of his vociferous fans. Bridge goaled for 26-22.

From here on in the Rhinos were holding on. For eighteen minutes they defended well, and forced the errors, while not managing to improve the lead. A forced Wolves dropout in the penultimate minute was welcome relief, and when Nathan Wood knocked on with just seconds to go, the game was all over.

The Rhinos were lucky to get away with this, and in the end, the better team possibly lost. Too little strength in the pack, and too much 'flowery' stuff in the backs will cause us to come unstuck again this season. The win will give us some confidence, and our name is in the hat. In the end that is all that matters.


Please vote for your man-of-the-match in the front page poll.

Match Facts

Rhinos
Wolves
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Mathers
1
Grose
2
Calderwood
1
2
Fa'afili
3
Walker
1
3
Gleeson, Martin
4
Senior
25
Bridge
3
5
Bai
5
Gaskell
13
Sinfield
3
6
Briers
7
Burrow
2
2
Wood, N.
2
8
Bailey
10
Hilton
14
Dunemann
14
Gleeson, Mark
15
Ward
15
Westwood
1
18
Jones-Buchanan
12
Wainwright
12
McKenna
1
16
Wodd, P.
20
Ellis
9
Clarke
1
21
Botham
17
Lima
6
McGuire
18
Appo
22
Scruton
20
Stevens
16
Poching
8
Liekvol

Kick Off:
14:35
Half-Time:
16-12
Attendance:
?
Referee:
Steve Ganson


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