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Rhinos Hang On To Grand Dream
Posted by southstander on September 23 2011 - 23:30:43

Coming of Age
The Galpharm was the stage for tonights eliminator showdown as the Rhinos continued their quest for Old Trafford from a lowly fifth place.

The fourth placed Giants, now a pale imitation of their sensational early season side, were the massive obstacle stood in our way. A brilliant away support, comfortably outnumbering the home fans, were there to cheer their lads to on to a hoped for victory.

Could the Rhinos progress to a semi-final against the Wolves or the Saints?

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

34

Rhinos

v

Giants

28

Superleague XVI

Grand Final Play-Off Eliminator

23rd September 2011

Rhinos Hang On To Grand Dream

Step two on a long Rhinos road to the Theatre of Dreams saw fifth travel to fourth as the Giants looked to avenge the loss twelve days previous.

With Ablett still missing, McDermott named the same side that demolished Hull FC last week.

The Rhinos started well, controlling the game, forcing the Giants errors and avoiding conceeding the daft penalties that have occasionally marred our performances. With all the ball in the opening minutes it was no surprise when We opened the scoring. A ball steal on Buderus allowed Sinfield to get good field position and after Peacock softened the Giants down the middle the ball was moved wide left and after Hauraki tried to barge his way to the line he offloaded to Ben Jones-Bishop to cross in the corner. Sinfield missed the touchline conversion.

Two minutes later and we were over again, shocking the home side and their few supporters that had bothered to turn up.

Webb broke down the middle, checked his run before finding McGuire who looked like he was going alone before he balloned a pass to Hardaker to cross unopposed. Sinfield added the two this time for 10-0. It was a great Rhinos start, the nerves were alread settled.

The Giants managed to keep their line unbroken for the next fourteen minutes, but the Rhinos were in total control with fast play-the-balls ripping the home side to shreds.


Five from six
On twenty-three a up-and-under from Sinfield was totally missed by McGillvray and collected on the first bounce by Hardaker to cross by the sticks. Sinfield converted for 16-0 and it looked like it might be a rout.

The home side gave themselves a lifeline with five minutes left in the half. A good break by Brough saw him pass left before the ball was switched right and Grix went through a gaping hole in the tiring Leeds defence to score under the sticks. Brough goaled for 16-6.

Leeds will have been kicking themselves that they let the Giants in just before half-time, but we were still well in control. We just needed to start the second half in a composed manner and the game was there for the taking.

But with the second half just three minutes old the Rhinos were, once again, their own worst enemy.

Ben Jones-Bishop made a total 'porridge' of a kick-through and two tackles from the back of the scrum Ferguson went over off a Brown pass. Brough added the extras and narrowed the margin to a nail-biting four points.

The Rhinos then set about taking back the upper hand and from the fifty-third minute they ran in three unanswered tried in five minutes.

On fifty-three Hardaker wrong-footed Robinson to break twenty metres before releasing Webb to dive over under the posts. Sinfields goal gave us 22-12.

On fifty-five Hardaker scored the best individual try of the night for his hat-trick as he evaded four tackles to go thirty metres and score next to the sticks. Sinfields goal gave us 28-12.

A nice passing move on fifty-eight saw the ball move from right to left through five pairs of hands. McGuire made a stepping half-break before Jones-Buchanan put Webb over for his second. Sinfields goal gave us 34-12 and with twenty-two left the game appeared over.


Good and Bad

But no-one told the home side.

With ten minutes left on the clock the Rhinos switched off and the Giants turned on. They would score three tries in four minutes and give us a thrilling last five minutes.

On seventy the Rhinos were penalised for 'not square' and after a great kick to touch the Leeds defence were caught napping as Fa'alongo went over. Brough missed the conversion - 34-16.

Seventy-two and a kick through came back off the posts, was flapped at by Webb, and grounded by Grix. Brough added the extras for 34-22 and the nerves were starting to show in the Leeds players faces and actions.

On seventy-four Webb dropped a high bomb and two tackles off the back of the scrum saw Fa'alongo crash over for his second in four minutes. Broughs kick brought the margin down to six and 34-28.

The Giants were now firing on all cylinders, the Rhinos had fallen asleep, and we were one score away from the dreaded golden point.

Despite a couple of late scares, including one forward pass when it looked like Lawrence would go over, the Rhinos held on desperately for the win. The closing seconds were unnecessarily nail-biting, and definitely not good for the old ticker. McDermott must have been having kittens.

But hold on we did, and we're through to the semi-finals next weekend. It's all down to the clubcall pick on Sunday night but if the Warriors do the expected and beat the Catalans then I think we'll be off to the Halliwell-Jones. If the Catalans do the rest of the league a favour and beat the Wigan cheats then we'll undoubtedly be going to Widnes to play the Saints.

Either way, the going gets a lot tougher from here on in!

Tomorrow - I'll be a Dragon for the day. Come on the Catalans!


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


Match Facts

Rhinos
Giants
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Webb
2
1
Grix
2
23
Jones-Bishop
1
2
McGillvary
27
Hardaker
3
3
Cudjoe
3
Delaney
29
Wardell
5
Hall
2
Lawrence
13
Sinfield
5
6
Brown
6
McGuire
7
Brough
4
8
Leuluai
15
Mason
9
Buderus
9
Robinson
10
Peacock
10
Griffin
11
Jones-Buchanan
4
Gilmour
20
Hauraki
12
Fa'alongo
2
21
Clarkson
19
Horne
7
Burrow
13
Faiumi
14
Lauiti'iti
8
Crabtree
16
Bailey
18
Patrick
17
Kirke
37
Ferguson
1

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
16-06
Referee:
Phil Bentham
Crowd:
7,872


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