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Reds Get the Headingley Blues
Posted by southstander on February 19 2010 - 23:33:22

Two Tries

Two teams low on confidence, both desperate for a win, a recipe for a nervous encounter between the Rhinos and the Reds.

Leeds were the bookies favourites but you had to feel that a twenty-two point handicap was just a little disrespectful to the visitors. The pitch was a great leveller, as were the freezing conditions, as the teams fought out an error strewn encounter.

There could only be one winner.

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

22

Rhinos

v

Reds

10

Superleague XV - Round 4

19th February 2010

Reds Get the Headingley Blues

As we awaited kick-off we played 'spot the Headingley blade of grass' but had to give up after five minutes when it became apparent that there could be no winner. The pitch is frankly an embarrassment to a Champion side, and it was immediately apparent that it would be impossible to play decent rugby on.

Bluey stuck with the same seventeen that lost at Belle Vue last weekend but juggled his seventeen a little. Diskin and Kirke got starts with Buderus and Eastwood starting on the bench, as the Rhinos players welcomed back recent team-mates Broughton and Gibson now wearing the white of the Reds.

Leeds totally dominated the opening exchanges and had come close to scoring after a Sinfield bomb was fumbled but the opening score came on seven minutes when a nice passing move saw Senior finish just left of the sticks. Sinfield converted for 6-0, a much better start than last week.

But we failed to build on it. On fifteen minutes Donald went to ground after being tackled without the ball and stayed there. The medics came on, wrapped his arm in his shirt and escorted him to the tunnel, not to be seen for the rest of the game. A bad sight ahead of next sundays World Club Challenge.

Leeds continued to dominate but the lack of confidence, so evident in recent weeks, saw us squander good field position and possession time after time.


Hot & Cold
On the half-hour mark Leesd were penalised for a sloppy forward pass and from the next play the Reds moved the ball wide and Gibson showed a familiar turn of speed to go down the right wing and dive over in the corner for the visitors. Ratchford missed the conversion but for the fourth week running there was very little in the teams at half time.

It was a bit of a half-time puzzler as to why we were only two points ahead after dominating for large periods. The answer was that we were devoid of ideas in the last twenty, guilty of daft plays and dropped balls, and seemingly without a kicker who could put in a pinpoint tester for the Reds defence.

Nerves were calmed a little when the second half was six minutes old. A Jamie Jones-Buchanan intercept saw Leeds capitalise on possession when on the last tackle a Burrow high kick was collected by Brent Webb who dropped to the ground over the line for a try. Sinfield knocked over the extra two for 12-4.

Leeds had several more good opportunities over the next ten minutes but failed to capitalise and then as we approached the hour mark the Reds got right back into it.

A high kick caused devastation in the Leeds backs as two players both missed the collect and the ball bounced into the hands of Talau who ran over the top of a woeful attempted Webb tackle to score. Ratchford this time added the extras for 12-10.

The game was on and we were contemplating a third consecutive loss.

But on sixty-six we opened up breathing space once again when a Sinfield kick on the last was knocked backwards by a flying Hall into the arms of Senior who crossed unopposed for his second of the night. Sinfield missed the conversion from the touchline and at 16-10 it would be a nervy last quarter of an hour.

Salford then threw everything that they had at us...but we kept them at bay.


Injured

In the final ten Leeds again bombed plenty of good chances with poor handling, bad passing and terrible kicking. As the clock counted down into the last handful of seconds Eastwood made a break through the Reds defence and offloaded to the supporting Kirke who went over the line and improved the angle before touching down. Sinfield made the kick after the hooter and the Rhinos had struggled to a 22-10 win.

There is no doubting that this was a massive improvement on last weeks effort at Wakefield and that the lads put in the full eighty minutes. We deserved to win and while 22-10 was a fair outcome it could, and perhaps should, have been a lot wider margin. Leeds forwards were massive tonight with Eastwood, Kirke, Peacock and Leuluai all having great games. But we are missing something in the halves and the backs, and that something is confidence.

Next week we get a break from Superleague to take on the Storm. Definitely without Delaney and now likely without Scott Donald I am fearful of what the outcome may be.

Still, it's a second season win under the belt, and some relief.


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
Eastwood36%
8
Peacock23%
5
Jones-Buchanan14%
5
Senior14%
2
Leuluai5%
2
McGuire5%
2
Sinfield5%

See here for season standings.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Reds
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Webb
1
1
Fitzpatrick
2
Donald
2
Broughton
23
Watkins
3
henry
4
Senior
2
4
Talau
1
5
Hall
5
Gibson
1
6
McGuire
6
Ratchford
1
7
Burrow
14
Smith
8
Leuluai
19
Boyle
14
Diskin
9
Alker
10
Peacock
10
KParker
11
Jones-Buchanan
11
Sibbit
17
Kirke
1
12
Adamson
13
Sinfield
3
13
Swain
9
Buderus
7
Smith
15
Eastwood
15
Littler
12
Lauiti'iti
16
Leuluai
16
Bailey
17
Sidlow

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
06-04
Referee:
Phil Bentham
Crowd:
12,700


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