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Leeds Win Dropathon to Scramble into the Semis
Posted by southstander on June 24 2005 - 23:31:28

Two Try McGuire
The threatened weather moved into Headingley just as the teams took the field for tonights Challenge Cup quarter final. It was to have a big effect on the night.

It wasn't driving rain but that drizzly stuff that wets you through!

It caused the ball, pitch and players to become very slippy and beckoned the onset of a dropathon of the worst type.

32

Rhinos

v

Broncos

12

Challenge Cup Quarter Final

24th June 2005

Leeds Win Dropathon to Scramble into the Semis

Smith was forced into one change in personnel with Nick Scruton getting a recall due to injury to Danny Ward. Cummins was 18th man, edging ever closer to his first team return. Smith did tinker with the line-up, staring with McGuire and Burrow as half-backs with Sinfield at loose. The visitors didn't risk McLinden but still had a decent enough looking side, the majority of which were fresh from a sensational drawn game at Knowsley Road last week.

Leeds kicked off the game attacking the scoreboard end but all the early exchanges saw defences on top. Both sides had their chances, but both defences were up to the challenge. Honours were even until the twelfth minute when the Rhinos stole a try, many would argue against the play.

As London moved the ball out of defence a two man tackle by McGuire and Bai saw the ball pop free. McGuire reacted quickly and picked it up on the half way line, stepping left to avoid a lunging tackle and fifty yards down the left wing to score in the corner. Sinfield goaled brilliantly from the touchline and Leeds had a lucky lead.

It was an advantage that lasted eleven minutes, until London had their own slice of luck. Bradley-Qalilawa found himself in posession just five metres out and went for the corner, to those of us nearby it looked like BQ grounded the ball on the touchline, and the touch judge stood his ground. Ganson, unsighted, awarded the try much to the chagrin of the South Stand. Sykes slotted over the two from the touchline.

London were in the ascendancy and only good Rhinos last line kept them out.

Just as it looked like the sides would go in at half-time all square, the Rhinos gave the ball air with Burrow and Poching involved before the ball went wide to Walker who went over. Sinfield failed to add the extras so the home side took a narrow 10-6 lead into the interval.

There was a collective sigh of relief amongst the supporters, London had not come here to make up the numbers.


Excellent Ellis

The Broncos started the brightest in the second half, but both sides had started to hand over posession with dropped balls.

On forty-seven a McGuire grubber was picked up and carried downfield by a London player. Burrow set off in pursuit and hauled the player down on the Rhinos forty, a tackle as good as a try.

But three minutes later, the Broncos hit the front.

A good set of six near the Rhinos sticks was rewarded when Haumono crashed over and was awarded the try by Ganson. Sykes goaled and sent the 30+ visiting supporters crazy. They believed that their side could overturn the world champions, and more worryingly, so did their players. Leeds needed to get the lead back...and quick. The BBC schedulers must have been having kittens at the thought of the Rhinos getting knocked out!

It took four minutes, but this time Leeds were on the end of a dodgy Ganson decision. A forward looking pass from Walker to Burrow followed a great McKenna break downfield. Burrow didn't need asking twice as he ducked and dived for fifteen metres to slide over. Sinfield goaled for 16-12.


Inspirational
The Broncos were still holding on, but cheap handovers were starting to tire both sides.

On sixty-five the Rhinos opened up a 'comfort gap' thanks to a superb play by Sinfield. With no way through the London defence, and on the right touchline, Sinfield chipped over and Walker chased. Hopkins came across field to collect the ball but had no option but to carry it into touch.

From the scrum, Sinfield broke with the ball and passed to McGuire who went over from five metres, right under the posts. Sinfield converted for 22-12.

Four minutes later and telepathy between Sinfield and Calderwood set up the next score. The Rhinos had a 20m tap and Sinfield surprised everyone by 'hoofing' the ball downfield. Calderwood chased Luisi into the Broncos goal, and the London full-back had to push the ball dead-in-goal.

From the dropout the Rhinos, through Bai and McDermott went close before fast hands put Senior over for the try. Sinfields goal made it 28-12, we were safe, the semi-finals beckoned.

On seventy-six Tyrone Smith was sin-binned after a late challenge on Dunemann who had put in a high kick. From the penalty fast hands to the left put Bai over. Sinfield miss left the final score at 32-12 to the Rhinos, a harsh scoreline for the plucky Broncos and their supporters to swallow.

This was an awful game to watch for several reasons. The ball didn't flow, there was little open rugby and the number of errors were horrendous. Ganson didn't add to the spectacle but he was not biased, just absolute garbage. How this man is a top flight referee I have no idea, Stuart Cummings must cringe when he reviews the tape!

Just under nine and a half thousand thought it was worthwhile turning up at Headingley for tonights quarter final against the London Broncos. My guess is that there will be slightly more in the queue for Cardiff tickets should we make it through whatever tie the semi's now throw up.

All that really matters is that we are in the semi-finals. We'll hope to avoid the winners of the Saints v. Wigan fixture, but must feel that we should make the final of we can rediscover the form of recent weeks and forget about tonights dropathon.


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


Match Facts

Rhinos
Broncos
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Mathers
25
Luisi
2
Calderwood
3
Bradley-Qalilawa
1
3
Walker
1
1
Sykes
2
4
Senior
1
24
Smith
5
Bai
1
2
Wells
6
McGuire
2
21
Dorn
7
Burrow
1
7
Leuluai
8
Bailey
10
Trindall
14
Dunemann
19
Highton
18
Jones-Buchanan
8
Stephenson
20
Ellis
13
Purdham
12
McKenna
12
Hopkins
13
Sinfield
4
16
Mbu
10
McDermott
11
Haumono
1
11
Lauiti'iti
14
Williams
22
Scruton
17
Tookey
16
Poching
4
O'Halloran

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
32-12
Attendance:
9,444
Referee:
Steve Ganson


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