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Storm Too Strong for Valiant Rhinos
Posted by southstander on February 23 2013 - 09:38:45

Leeds Opener
A capacity crowd packed into Headingley for the War of the Worlds as the Rhinos defended their World Club Challenge title against the Melbourne Storm.

The mouthwatering prospect, which packed the ground to its rafters, was Slater, Cronk and Smith against Sinfield, McGuire and Burrow.

Who would be crowned World Champions?

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

14

Rhinos

v

Storm

18

World Club Challenge

22nd February 2013

Storm Too Strong for Valiant Rhinos

The Rhinos were without the services of the injured Hardaker and Bailey, forcing Watkins to full-back and a re-shuffle in the centres. The bookies had given the Rhinos a six point start and few pundits were tipping the Rhinos to retain their trophy.

The opening ten minutes served up exactly what we'd expected. No quarter was asked or given as the forwards battered one another and the backs tested their opponents defences.

It was the Storm who opened the scoring, taking advantage of the games first penalty on twelve minutes. Watkins had dropped a high bomb and Ward kicked the ball in an offside position right in front of the posts. Cameron Smith made no mistake with the boot.


Awesome Effort
On twenty the Rhinos defences were finally breached when Slater went through a gap with a darting run from thirty metres to score under the sticks. Smith added the two and we were eight behind. You had to fear the worse. The Storm were awesome; fast, strong, and moving the ball around like it was the end and not the beginning of their season.

On twenty-seven it looked like Ryan Hall was going in for a try in the left corner but superb Storm defence got him into touch centimetres from the line.

A minute later and excellent Rhinos hands allowed Hall to improve on his last effort and ground in the corner. Sinfield converted brilliantly from the touchline to narrow the gap to two at 8-6.

On thirty we should have snatched the lead as a brilliant Watkins break saw a pass inside to to Burrow clear to the line but Burrow juggled and then dropped the pass. With two minutes left another Rhinos effort went to ground as this time McGuire knocked on from a Ward pass, again with the try line begging.

As the hooter sounded Sinfield leveled the scores at 8-8 with a penalty kick for an offside, and a scintillating first half drew to a close.

We'd done well to be level at half-time, although with two bombed chances we could have had the lead. At times it seemed like the Storm had two players on the pitch to every one of the Rhinos, and it was only desperate cover defence that had thwarted a hat full of tries for the visitors.

The Rhinos were undone by a three minute spell at the start of the second half.

On forty-three the Leeds defence fell asleep and allowed Jesse Bromwich to run through the middle and walk the ball over the line. Smiths boot made it 14-8.

On forty-six some sensational passing from inside their own half saw Harris end up with the ball in hand and walk through a mesmerised Leeds defence and score. Smith missed the conversion attempt but it was a ten point lead for the visitors.


Leeds second

Leeds then threw everything that they had at the Storm.

On fifty-three a trademark Sinfield cross field kick was caught and passed back by Hall, through a couple more pairs of hands before Ward put Jones-Buchanan through a gap to score behind the sticks. Sinfield added the extras and at 14-18, and with the Storm looking like they were tiring, we were in a position to snatch a victory.

Try as we might we couldn't break down the Aussies defences. We held strong ourselves but some clumsy dropped ball and bad offload decisions eventually allowed the time to run down to the hooter which sounded the loss of our World Champions title.

You can have no complaints about the result, the best team won, but it was a valiant effort from the lads against a team who would have annihilated most of the sides in Superleague. The Storms passing was slick, tackling fierce, and I am glad we played them at the start of their season and not the end.

There is just a nagging question about how the game would have turned out if the passes to Burrow and McGuire had stuck in the first half, but at the end of the day a four point loss to the best team in the world is no disgrace.

All credit the boys, now back to concentrating on finishing fifth!

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


Match Facts

Rhinos
Storm
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
3
Watkins
1
Slater
1
25
Vickery
2
Waqa
12
Ablett
3
Chambers
4
Moon
4
O'Neill
5
Hall
1
5
Fonua
13
Sinfield
3
6
Widdop
6
McGuire
7
Cronk
8
Leuluai
8
Bromwich J
1
7
Burrow
9
Smith
3
10
Peacock
10
Norrie
14
Ward
11
Harris
1
15
Delaney
12
Hoffman
11
Jones-Buchanan
1
13
Hinchcliffe
17
Kirke
15
Ryles
9
McShane
18
Setu
18
Clarkson
16
Vave
19
Achurch
17
Moors

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
08-08
Referee:
Ben Thaler
Crowd:
20,400


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