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The Game of Two Halves
Posted by southstander on June 30 2013 - 18:42:02

Two Great Tries

Brian McDermott decided to give a debut to Alex Foster, the first Rhinos first-teamer to be born after the start of Superleague, making myself and many others in the bumper travelling crowd feel rather old.

It was squad numbers one to five as our first choice back line played together for the first time this season and in a first half which the Rhinos totally dominated they filled their boots with an exhibition of rugby. But the home side weren't just going to lie down and die and gave us a big fright in the closing stages of the second half as they scored at will to gain some respectability in the scoreline.

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

52

Rhinos

v

Vikings

36

Superleague XVIII - Round 20

30th June 2013

The Game of Two Halves

It was Widnes who were quickest out of the blocks, with the wind in their faces and the travelling support from Headingley at their backs. Early pressure forced a couple of Leeds mistakes but they were unable to turn position into points as aggressive Rhinos defence kept them at bay. On the Rhinos first foray into the Vikings forty Moon found himself with space on the overlap and walked in the opener. Hardaker kicked the extras.

On thirteen Hardaker was the provider and a superb run saw him wrongfoot three attempted tacklers on a sixty metre run before he released Watkins to make another ten metres and pass to Sutcliffe who grounded under the sticks making it simple for Hardaker to extend the lead to twelve points. Five minutes later and the Rhinos were in again against a Vikings side already looking a little shell-shocked at the demolition that was taking place.

Hock had been judged offside on his own twenty and a quick tap allowed Moon to cross for his second, scoring by the left corner flag. Zak missed the conversion but his chances to kick would keep coming at pace.


16 Points
On twenty-three the Vikings spilled the ball on their own thirty and as Leeds regained possession Sutcliffe scored his second in the right corner as the Widnes defenders complained to the referee about an obstruction. Despite a failed conversion attempt we led 20-0, a start we could only have dreamed of.

Just three minutes had elapsed before McShane broke the Widnes line and switched play inside to centre field. Sutcliffe then walked through a gap and put the supporting Burrow in for a try under the sticks. Zak made it 26-0.

On thirty-five McShane was again the provider as an inch perfect kick found the hands of a rising Hall who touched down in the corner.

Two minutes later and Hardaker grabbed one after a superb Moore offload allowed Burrow and then Sutcliffe to break to the Widnes five metres before a pass to the first of three Rhinos players lining up to score unopposed. Hardaker converted his own try and we were 38-0 ahead, scoring at more than a point a minute.

As the hooter warmed up Alibert gave the Vikings a penalty on the Leeds line and some defensive confusion allowed Brown to break the home sides duck, and as Owens slipped over the two the hooter sounded and the Rhinos took a game winning 38-6 lead into the interval.

It had been a fantastic first half performance from the Rhinos who seemed to be ripping the Vikings defence apart at will. The home side had no answer to Leeds attacking flair and the mood of dispondency even spread to their half-time announcer who could barely hided his disappointment.

Leeds started the second half in a similar style. On forty-two and after collecting our own kick-off in a swirling wind, Ben Jones-Bishop was put over in the right corner off a nice Watkins pass. The kick wastoo wide and the wind too strong for Hardaker.

Zak would convert seven minutes later when Ablett picked up a loose ball, went forty metres and then passed inside to Burrow to cross for his second. We were 48-6 up and the points were coming home to Yorkshire. And then we took our foot off the gas and allowed Widnes to get some respectability.

For the last twenty minutes it was the home side who dominated, turning the tables on the Rhinos in a total reversal of roles.

On fifty-eight the Vikings made extensive pressure pay when Hock culminated a drop-out return by slicing through the Leeds defence to score. Five minutes later and a grubber found Hock who juggled the ball before passing to Brown to score his second. Both were converted for 44-18.

Leeds did get one more score, on sixty-six when Watkins literally walked over the Widnes defenders to score. Hardaker again missed the extras but fortunately at 52-18 it mattered very litte as the game was already well and truly won.


Brace

Widnes scored three more tries on a seven minute spell from the seventieth minute.

Brown got his hat-trick after being allowed to get up a head of steam and then stretch over the line to score. With five minutes left Hanbury went over as Widnes kept the ball alive, and on seventy-seven Hock got his second of the match and Widnes sixth after Brown put the big forward through a gap. Owens kicked all of his conversion opportunities for a final scoreline of 52-36.

The Rhinos were in total control of this game for an hour, but the Vikings absolutely blitzed us in the last twenty, the period when the Rhinos are usually at their strongest. There were some massive performances from the likes of Sutcliffe, Burrow, McShane, Hardaker, Moon and Moore which were a delight to watch but there is just a tinge of disappointment that the final winning margin wasn't more.

We allowed the Vikings some respectability when they should have been humiliated after as good a sixty minutes rugby display as I have seen all season.

We will need to keep the intensity for the full eighty next week.....at Warrington!

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


Match Facts

Rhinos
Vikings
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Hardaker
1
6
7
Hanbury
1
2
Jones-Bishop
1
26
Owens
6
3
Watkins
1
3
Phelps
4
Moon
2
4
Marsh
5
Hall
1
5
Ah Van
26
Sutcliffe
2
6
Brown
3
7
Burrow
2
14
Mellor
21
Moore
10
Pickersgill
9
McShane
9
Clarke
10
Peacock
16
O'Carroll
12
Ablett
22
Hock
2
18
Clarkson
11
Winterstein
23
Singleton
25
Gerrard
17
Kirke
24
Leuluai
19
Achurch
17
Kavanagh
22
Keinhorst
23
Joseph
30
Foster
21
Craven

Kick Off:
15:00
Half-Time:
38-06
Referee:
Thierry Alibert
Crowd:
6,230


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