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Second Half Rhinos Rampage
Posted by southstander on September 16 2012 - 10:34:45

Controlled Game
With the Wildcats entering the play-offs in good form and the Rhinos on the back of a heavy defeat at the Giants, this was never going to be an easy ask and progress through to the next round was not assured.

One piece of good news was the return of the inspirational Danny McGuire at scrum half which forced Rob Burrow back into the hooking role and Shaun Lunt onto the bench (where he'd reside for seventy-one minutes).

Bailey was back in the fold at loose forward and we all hoped that it would be smart the smart Bailey who took to the field and not his dumb alter-ego. The stage was set for a cracker.

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

42

Rhinos

v

Wildcats

20

Superleague XVII - Play Offs

15th September 2012

Second Half Rhinos Rampage

The visitors had just one change from the side that beat us so comprehensively at the end of July with South Stand darling Ali Lauiti'iti back in the side for Frankie Mariano who dropped to the bench displacing Kyle Trout. Leeds had more changes, thanks to the return of McGuire in the halves but the pack and bench were also 'all change' for McDermott. There was every chance that this could be the eighty minutes where a disappointing season would end, and McDermott had his A-Team on the park.

The game started off at a hundred miles per hour with some brilliant hit-ups and bone-crunching tackles from both sides. Leeds seemed to have gained the upper hand spending good minutes in the Wakefield twenty in front of an impressive travelling support in an overall disappointing sub-10,000 crowd. Despite controlling the opening fifteen it was the visitors who scored first, rocking back the Rhinos players and fans.

On fifteen Jones-Bishop made a hash of gathering a cross field kick and as Leeds scrambled in defence Ganson ruled us offside. Some good handling drew in the Rhinos defence and left us exposed down the left where Cockayne went over to score in the corner. Sykes, fortunately, failed to add the extras.

Leeds hit back on twenty-three thanks to a great fend and break by Watkins on the half-way line which saw him progress to the Wakefield twenty before passing the the supporting Burrow to scamper over mext to the posts and make the Sinfield conversion for 6-4 a formality.


Big Effort
Wakefield weren't going to lie down and came back at us with another wave of pressure and on the half hour they were back in the lead. Leeds were guilty of standing off the tackle as Lee Smith and Ben Cockayne interpassed the ball nicely for Smith to break down the left wing and go over under the sticks against his ex-team mates. This time Sykes did add the extras for 6-10, we were definitely in a game and it was looking like it would be a nervy night of nip and tuck.

As the hooter was warming up the Rhinos snatched back the lead, somewhat undeservedly, and once again thanks to a Watkins break and pass inside to Burrow who won the race with Mathers to score under the sticks. Sinfield converted for a narrow 12-10 half-time lead, and I am not sure that we really deserved it.

Wakefield had come to play, and my God they were playing. Agars well drilled side had the belief that they could get through to the next round, a belief which seemed to be lacking amongst the Rhinos squad who had been second best for much of the first half. We needed a big change for the second or it would be an embarrassing exit.

The second half didn't start well for the Rhinos with the Waildcats regaining the lead after two minutes thanks to an electrifying break by Richie Mathers which saw him score with barely a Leeds hand laid on him. Sykes converted for 12-16 and the game was back on.

Something then changed. Whether it was the Rhinos 'never say die' attitude kicking back in, or whether the Wildcats had run themselves to a stand-still, I am not sure. But we'd dominate the final half hour and make it all look so easy in the end.

On fifty came the game changer that took the wind out of the Wildcats sails. A Hall interception saw him go seventy metres before being caught. A quick play found Sinfield at first receiver and with his way blocked he put in a cross-field kick which was collected by Ben Jones-Bishop in acres of space and he walked in the try, coupled with the Sinfield conversion, which took us back into a lead we'd not relinquish at 18-16.

On sixty-one a Peacock bulldozing run saw him offload to Rob Burrow who made a half break before finding McGuire on his outside to score from ten metres, his 200th try for the Rhinos in a glittering career. Sinfield made it 24-16.

Four minutes later and the try of the game as Wakefield knocked on five out from the Rhinos line. The ball was picked up by Hardaker who jinked and dodged his way our of half a dozen attempted tackles before straightening up and running the length of the field to score under the sticks for a sensational solo effort. Sinfield kicked the extras for 30-16 and there was an increasing confidence amongst the fans that the game was won.


200 Tries

Wakefield, however, weren't done and when Bailey gave away a stupid penalty for not playing the ball right, Wakefield made ground before putting in a kick which confused Jones-Bishop enough for him to knock it into touch. From the scrum Wakefield used the ball well and put in a low grubber which confused the Rhinos defence enough to let Ali Lauiti'iti win the race and touch down millimetres before the ball went dead. Sykes missed the conversion for 30-20.

Two tries in two minutes (73 and 74) put the icing on the cake for Leeds and sent the fans home happy.

The first was a typical Leeds try with nice passing through four sets of hands which followed an awesome defensive six which had pinned the Wildcats in their own twenty. Jones-Bishop was the last in the line and crossed in the corner. Sinfield converted, in off the far post, for 36-20.

A minute later and another great break by Kallum Watkins set up Jones-Bishop for his hat-trick try and once again Sinfield was accurate with the boot to leave us with a very comfortable looking final score of 42-20.

Despite only getting a play-off place thanls to the Bulls financial incompetence the Wildcats came to Headingley and really gave us a lot of concern for an opening fifty minutes in which the game could have gone either way, and frequently did. In the end the Rhinos were fitter, more experienced, and showed more ingenuity which allowed us to pile on the points and in the end run away with a comprehensive victory.

All credit to the Wildcats, but more credit to the likes of Watkins, Jones-Bishop, Hall, Hardaker, Sinfield and Burrow who all had top class games in Blue & Amber.

Next week we've got to got to Perpignan, Friday night in the South of France will determine where our season goes next.

Everything crossed already.

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


Match Facts

Rhinos
Wildcats
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
4
Hardaker
1
1
Mathers
1
2
Jones-Bishop
3
2
Fox
3
Watkins
3
Collis
12
Ablett
35
Smith, L.
1
5
Hall
5
Cockayne
1
13
Sinfield
7
34
Sykes
2
6
McGuire
1
20
Smith, T.
10
Peacock
15
Amor
7
Burrow
2
9
Ellis
8
Leuluai
10
Raleigh
11
Jones-Buchanan
11
Lauiti'iti
1
15
Delaney
17
Kirmond
16
Bailey
13
Washbrook
31
Lunt
7
Wood
25
Ward
8
Wilkes
20
Griffin
16
Johnson
18
Clarkson
19
Mariano

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
12-10
Referee:
Steve Ganson
Crowd:
9,044


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