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Dirty Dozen Lose to Saints Fourteen
Posted by southstander on June 20 2008 - 23:04:46

Saint Steve

For 113 years the Rugby Football League has had a rule forbidding a referee from taking charge of a game which involves his home town club. The reason for this is that despite thinking that they can be totally impartial it is impossible for a human being to really remain neutral when one side is a team he has trained with, seen his kids mascot for, or even shed a tear for a loss in major final.

After strong appeals from one vociferous referee, tonight the RFL broke with tradition and appointed St. Helens resident Steve Ganson to take charge of his home team side for the first time, against the Rhinos.

And the Rhinos paid the price.

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

12

Rhinos

v

Saints

26

Superleague XIII

Round 18

20th June 2008

Dirty Dozen Lose to Saints Fourteen

There were few changes to the sides which battled out an epic at Knowsley Road in round nine when the Rhinos had escaped with a four point victory. Saints were without Cayless and the Rhinos were missing Lauiti'iti but apart from that is was more-or-less as you were. Conditions were fantastic, although the Rhinos had a dipping sun in their eyes as they defended the Carnegie Stand. And for the first twenty minutes we were treated to a game which lived up to all of its pre-match hype.

It was brutal hit after hit as neither side asked nor granted any quarter. The atmosphere was electric, amongst the loudest I've heard in the SouthStand and it raised the game of both sets of players. It was inevitable that the deadlock would break, and a little against the run of play it was the Saints who got the scoreboard ticking.

Fa'asavalu got the ball thirty from the Leeds line and ran straight through a weak attempted tackle from Webb to dive over the line and score under the sticks. Sean Long, looking more like Wurzel Gummidge every time we see him, slotted over the extras.

Leeds took four minutes to strike back with some McGuire/Sinfield magic. A grubber from the former found the latter chase through from five metres to touch down under the sticks and with the skippers conversion he made it 52 consecutive rounds and 63 consective scoring games. Superleague and Club records continue to be extended.

After not having a score for twenty five, we then got our third in eight minutes, this time thanks to a massive stroke of luck/skill from the scarecrow wannabee.


Run Continues

A long chip kick on the last bounced off the upright as the Rhinos defenders anticipated it bouncing into the goal area. Hargreaves acted the quickest and touched down the bouncing ball. Long missed a simple looking conversion for 6-10, which is where the scoreboard would stay until half time.

Within the dying seconds Sinfield appeared to steal he ball in a one-on-one on the Saints line but Ganson ruled that the tackle had been completed and scratched off the score. It had been a great half of rugby played in good spirit by two sides in great form. The Ganson effect hadn't yet kicked in, buthe had already set out his stall by erring to Saints on the 50/50's and turning a blind eye to Saints indiscretions.

At the start of the second half the not-so-neutral referee nailed his colours to the mast, and they were certainly red and white.

On forty-five Ganson penalised Leeds twice and from a position of attack deep in the Saints half we found our way right down on our own line. A Smith attempted intercept saw a knock-on and from head and feed the Saints moved the ball left and Meli crossed on the overlap. Long failed to convert but it was now 6-14.


Saw Red
Two minutes later and we looked a good bet to reduce the margin but as Peacock went close Ganson short counted us and gave the handover, Webb went ballistic and was lucky not to see yellow for his reaction to being waved away by Mr Ganson. Leeds repelled the attack and went on the offensive again but on fifty-three a lost ball found Long who went to ground. Without a Leeds tackle being completed he realised he could be guilty of a voluntary tackle and tried to regain his feet, as he did so JJB picked him up and carried him in to touch. A Leeds scrum you might think...a Saints penalty indicated Mr Gamson.

The frustration in the Leeds players boiled over, with disasterous results.

One minute after the JJB injustice Nick Scruton lifted Keiron Cunningham and dumped him on his head, no mean feat, and left the St. Helens referee with little option but to show the red card. Nick and Leeds could have little argument with the decision itself, but it had been brought about by the earlier injustices and the frustrations that they caused.

The game was now over as a contest.

One minute later, and taking advantage of the extra man, Meli went over in the corner on the overlap. Long missed for 6-18.

A Sinfield ball steal on fifty-nine saved a certain Long try and Leeds went down the other end and after Burrow had gone close McGuire put Donald over in the corner with missout pass. Sinfield converted brilliantly from the North Stand touchline to reduce the arrears by six to 12-18. But the fightback would be short-lived as the fourteen exerted their advantage over the twelve.

A Long high kick on sixty-three was caught and scored by Pryce and with four minutes left Long kicked a penalty after a Bailey high tackle right in front of the posts. Leeds had lost 12-26 and the side that played the best rugby on the day had rightly won.

Ganson, from St. Helens wasn't solely responsible for this loss but the 7-11 penalty count and his red and white tinted vision of the world meant that the sides weren't on a level playing field. If this was an RFL experiment to see if referees really can be impartial then it has failed, and miserably so, and hopefully Stuart Cummings will realise the mistake and make sure that it doesn't happen again.

In the final analysis the Rhinos didn't get the luck in what was a tighter game than the scoreline suggests. After two on the bounce, and a lot of lads missing for the England international next friday, saturday against the Tigers is now not a fixture to look forward to. We just need the luck to turn back in our direction.

Oh...and did I mention that tonights referee was from St. Helens?


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
Peacock26%
8
McGuire23%
6
Sinfield17%
5
Donald11%
5
Scruton11%
3
Ellis6%
2
Burrow3%
2
Diskin3%

See here for season standings.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Saints
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Webb
1
Wellens
2
Donald
1
2
Gardner
12
Ellis
3
Gidley
4
Senior
4
Talau
5
Smith
5
Meli
2
6
McGuire
6
Pryce
1
7
Burrow
7
Long
3
8
Leuleui
17
Graham
9
Diskin
9
Cunningham
16
Bailey
18
Hargreaves
1
10
Peacock
11
Gilmour
19
Ablett
12
Wilkin
13
Sinfield
1
2
13
Sculthorpe
17
Scruton
14
Roby
21
Tansey
21
Clough
24
Burgess
23
Fa'asavalu
11
Jones-Buchanan
29
Thompson

Kick Off:
19:30
Half-Time:
06-10
Referee:
Steve Ganson
(St. Helens)
Crowd:
18,303


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