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Patience is a Virtue
Posted by southstander on May 23 2008 - 22:53:38

Sensational

Just twenty days since their last meeting and the Rhinos travelled to the Grattan Stadium to take on 2008 whipping boys Bradford Bulls.

Apparently we were due to be serenaded, pre-match, by '90's pop sensations nine-eleven but when they didn't show up I wasn't sure whether to be relieved or disappointed. I was left hoping that the Bulls would be the second '90's sensation of the night not to turn up, but they did, and in the end they gave us quite a game.

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

30

Rhinos

v

Bulls

14

Superleague XIII

Round 15

23rd May 2008

Patience is a Virtue

Just for once, and it doesn't happen often, we got it spot on in the preview. We suggested that Smith and Worrall would miss out from the Leeds nineteen and Deacon and Harris from the Bulls. And we were exactly right, but slightly more shocked about the Bulls omissions. It left the home side with no dedicated playmaker, and no dedicated kicker. You had to wonder if McNamara had one eye on next weeks Challenge Cup outing and had already waved tonights two points goodbye.

But if he had, he forgot to tell his players who started the game like a steam train, blitzing the Leeds line from the off.

It was no surprise when, with Leeds holding on for all they were worth, the Bulls were the first to score after fourteen. They had already been denied twice when Solomona twisted in the tackle and dropped over the line to score. Sykes missed the conversion on what would be a miserable kicking night for the Bulls stand-in. Then, on twenty, the Bulls were in again. This time a superb cross field kick found Halley with space and only Rob Burrow to beat as he crossed. Sykes screwed the ball wide but the home side were 8-0 to the good. But it was far from time to panic. The Rhinos had absorbed a bucket-load of pressure, and had little posession with which to lose the ball. I wasn't worried.

With twenty-four minutes showing on the clock, McGuire found a tight angle and slid over on his back before reaching out an arm to score in the corner. Bentham went to the video referee and when I was sure from the replay that it was a double-movement we were given the try. One of those that you accept gladly.

Sinfield broke Farrells consecutive Superleague game scoring record as he slotted over the two brilliantly from the touchline and we were in business and just two points behind.


Record Breaker

As half-time loomed the Rhinos did what they do best; worked the ball from their own twenty to score. Sinfield made the first break, and then Senior did the leg work before finding Burrow in support to go under the sticks. Sinfields goal gave Leeds a 12-8 half-time lead and I have to admit it was somewhat against the run of play.

My feeling was that the lads had stuck perfectly to the game plan and toughed it out for twenty-five until the Bulls big pack was tired, and then give the ball air. Bluey would have preferred a greater lead, but I'd settle for four points.

Leeds went close early in the second before we settled back into the pattern of a strong Bulls attack and a strong Rhinos defence. On fifty-five the Rhinos were exposed down the left and Tupou scampered in. Sykes converted this one for a 14-12 lead for the home side, but we were again sticking to the plan and being patient. It looked like we knew our time would come.


Inspiring
And that time was on sixty-one. Tupou had just gone close for the Bulls and the video referee ruling it out for an arm on the whitewash in the act of scoring. It knocked the stuffing out of the home side.

Just a minute later and Ellis offloaded off the floor, before the tackle was complete, and Leeds fast hands saw Ali Lauiti'iti over next to the sticks with a big smile on his face. Bentham consulted the video but the try stood and Sinfields conversion regained the lead by 18-14.

Just a minute later and it was Brent Webbs turn to smile. A flowing move down the centre of the field saw Leuluai, Tansey, McGuire and Tansey again all combine to put the full-back over under the sticks. Sinfield gave us 24-14.

On sixty-nine Ali limped off with what looked like it might be a serious injury but mercifully he was running up and down the sidelines a few minutes later. Lets hope it was nothing.

The final scoring of the game came on seventy-eight when after forcing a drop-out we kept the ball moving and three tackles later Burrow fed Senior who went five metres to score. Sinfield made it five from five and clinch a 30-14 win for the Champions.

This wasn't a vintage game, nor a vintage performance, but we did exactly what we needed to do to win. We absorbed masses of pressure for the opening twenty-five minutes of each half and then gave the ball some air in the last fifteen to punish a by-then exhausted Bulls side. Bluey has McNamara charges sussed, he plays them like Nobles Bulls played us through the late nineties and early two thousands.

But now were the best side in Yorkshire, Superleague and the World. The Bulls fans voted in their masses by staying away, with a pitiful 14k being in attendance. How the mighty have fallen, and their glory hunting supporters deserted them.

Now Bluey and the boys can turn both eyes to the Challenge Cup and sweeping aside Nobles Wigan to secure a place in the semi-finals.


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
Webb34%
8
Peacock18%
6
Sinfield18%
4
Senior11%
4
McGuire11%
2
Ablett3%
2
Burrow3%

See here for season standings.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Bulls
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Webb
1
1
Platt
2
Donald
2
Halley
1
12
Ellis
24
Sykes
1
4
Senior
1
4
Hape
22
Hall
25
Tadulala
6
McGuire
1
12
Morrison
7
Burrow
1
22
Jeffries
8
Leuleui
8
Vagana
9
Diskin
9
Newton
17
Scruton
10
Lynch
10
Peacock
11
Solomona
1
19
Ablett
13
Langley
13
Sinfield
5
16
Burgess
24
Burgess
5
Tupou
1
21
Tansey
30
Carlile (DNP)
16
Bailey
19
Finnigan
14
Lauiti'iti
1
18
Kopczak

Kick Off:
19:30
Half-Time:
12-08
Referee:
Phil Bentham
Crowd:
14,013


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