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Rhinos Snatch a Classic
Posted by southstander on September 12 2010 - 22:55:33

Match Winner

I'm sure that most of us who travelled to the DW Stadium for tonights qualifying semi-final against the Wigan Warriors did so more in hope than with any expectation. This was the dress rehearsal for another, more important visit, in a fortnights time to determine which of these two sides would make Old Trafford.

What none of us expected was that we'd be watching one of the all time classic games.

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

27

Rhinos

v

Warriors

26

Superleague Play-Offs

Qualifying Semi-Final

12th September 2010

Rhinos Snatch a Classic

Leeds were without big match player Lee Smith, laid low all week with a stomach bug. Chris Clarkson was back in the side as the only change to last week victorious KC side. We were up against the hub cap winners, and the side with expectations of an easy route to Old Trafford. Their fans were so confident of a win that they didn't even bother turning up. We were on a hiding to nothing.

And the early exchanges did little to settle anxious Rhinos nerves. On three minutes a cross-field kick looked to be going dead as a Wigan player rose and tipped it back into play where it was dropped on by Sam Tomkins to score the Warriors opener. Donald has stood and watched, as he did when Richards slotted over the extras.

We'd barely had time to get over that early disappointment when following Sinfield putting the kick-off out on the full, and on six minutes, Tomkins went through a massive gap in the Leeds defence, evaded the tacklers, and scored his second. Richards goaled again and we were 12-0 down. Already it felt like this would be a long night with nothing to show for it other than a good thumping.

On the quarter hour Richards added another couple when Buderus was judged to have held down in the tackle. It was 0-14 and doing the sums it looked like we might be on the end of a cricket score. Then something happened, and the Rhinos woke up. It was like a switch had been flicked.


Superb
On twenty-four the Rhinos registered their first points of the game thanks to hard work from Greg Eastwood who had gone close to the Warriors line before passing in the tackle to Buderus who evaded the Wigan tacklers to score. The North Stand went crazy. Sinfield kicked the goal and there was a chink of light.

On thirty-four it looked like Richards was in for Wigan but a last ditch try-saving tackle by McGuire saw the Wigan winger hit the corner flag before he could ground the ball. A tackle worth six points!

Three minutes later and we were in again. This time it was Hall who crossed in the corner off a long pass from McGuire. Sinfield converted brilliantly from the line and we were right back in a game which looked as though it was going all Wigans way.

When Joel Tomkins bizarrely (what was he thinking?) kicked McGuire as he stood to play the ball, right in front of the Warriors sticks, Sinfield accepted the invitation to level the scores and as the half-time hooter beat Wigan to the kick-off the sides were tied up at 14-14 in a game where we looked dead after ten. Tomkins will surely get a referral to Red Hall and miss out next weekend.

This had been a stunning Rhinos fightback, a tense traveling band of fans just hoped that they could keep it going in the second half.

It was just four minutes old when the Rhinos hit the front for the first time. A superb Sinfield offload led to a forty metre Webb break which then saw a neat inside pass to McGuire to dive over in-front of a now 'mental' North Stand. Sinfield kicked the goal for 20-14.

But the joy was short-lived. Sinfield was penalised harshly when Sam Tomkins seemed to trap his arm the tackle and milk the penalty. Wigan moved the ball deep into Leeds territory before Farrell jinked over and Richards goaled to level things up at 20-20.

With seventeen minutes remaining Wigan knocked-on on their own forty. Leeds used two tackles before a trademark McGuire long pass found Scott Donald who crashed over the Wigan tackler to ground the ball. Sinfield again converted superbly from the touchline and once again we were six up.


Crucial Try

Wigan answered back with their next attack when Leeds lost the ball on their own twenty after Hall failed to take a ball passed behind his head. Wigan kept the ball alive and moved it left where Richards went over in the corner thanks to a massive overlap. The usually 'robotic' Richards missed the conversion and you could see the panic in the Warriors players eyes.

On seventy-two Richards missed again, this time from a penalty attempt after a high Leeds tackle. But a minute later he did slot one between the sticks after Sinfield was called for a high tackle on Fielden, despite the replay clearly showing the tackle was on the shoulder. At 26-26 with seven minutes remaining it was anyones game in what had turned into a classic.

As Leeds kicked-off, Leuluai failed to collect a low bouncing ball for Wigan and booted the ball into touch. Leeds took the scrum and three tackles, before the skipper 'Sir' Kevin Sinfield kicked a drop-goal to give us the narrowest of leads.

The Rhinos soaked up the pressure until the very last few second when Richards was put clear down the left wing. In chasing the ball McGuire held back a Wigan player and injured himself (requiring a stretcher to leave the field) before Richards kicked through and was taken out by Scott Donald. Alibert seemed to give a scrum to Leeds and then changed his mind awarding Wigan a penalty where Donald had impeded Richards. The Wigan player lined up the match winning kick but left it short and the hooter sounded a great Rhinos win, against all the odds, and in an absolute classic.

This was a Rhinos side that I've not seen so far this season. A Rhinos side with drive, belief and determination. It was so sweet to get one over Wigan and their fans, who thought that they were guaranteed a win tonight.

The play-offs are here. Now is our time. WE ARE RHINOS!

Fingers crossed that Danny is okay for in a fortnights time, when the visitors to Headingley are likely to, once again, be the Wigan Warriors.


Please vote for you Man-of-the-Match in the front page poll.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Warriors
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Webb
6
Tomkins. S
2
2
Donald
1
24
Goulding
3
Delaney
3
Gleeson
4
Senior
4
Carmont
5
Hall
1
5
Richards
1
5
6
McGuire
1
19
Deacon
7
Burrow
7
Leuluai
8
Leuluai
8
Fielden
9
Buderus
1
9
Riddell
16
Bailey
10
Coley
17
Kirke
25
Farrell
1
18
Ablett
12
Tomkins, J.
13
Sinfield
5
1
13
O'Loughlin
14
Diskin
14
Prescott
15
Eastwood
15
McIlorum
12
Lauiti'iti
11
Hansen
27
Clarkson
29
Tuson

Kick Off:
18:45
Half-Time:
14-14
Referee:
Thierry Alibert
Crowd:
12,117


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