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Cods Far From Battered
Posted by southstander on February 12 2005 - 00:50:18

Outstanding
A journey to Hull was never going to be the easiest start that the Rhinos could have had to Superleague X. A torrential downpur that started late afternoon, and continued throughout the match, meant that this was always going to be a war of attrition.

Tony Smith had the luxury of naming the same seventeen that took part in last weeks successful assault on the World Club Challenge, but the Airlie Birds were likely to be the fresher as they took the field for their first competitive game of the season.

16

Rhinos

v

Hull FC

12

Superleague X

11th February 2005

Cods Far from Battered

The opening gambit for Hull was to hurl absolutely everything that they had at the Rhinos. For the opening fifteen minutes, with the Rhinos defending the end populated by their own supporters, the visitors barely managed to get out of their own twenty. Resolute defence kept the scoreboard blank, but something had to give.

There was no way that Hull could keep this up for the eighty, but if they did, there would be no way that the Rhinos could keep them out.

It was twenty minutes into the game before the deadlock was broken. Frantic attack, and even more frantic defence had kept the rain-soaked crowd enthralled, and it was to be the Rhinos contingent who would be celebrating first.

Finally deep in the Hull half, the ball was kept alive in warm weather fashion, being moved through half a dozen pairs of hands before ending up with Marcus Bai who crashed over in the corner. Sinfield converted what looked like an almost impossible touchline conversion for a six-nil lead. It was more than we had deserved on the balance of play, but just reward for our defensive effort.


Top Game

Hull came back at us. But once again the Rhinos defensive effort was massive. Frustration started to boil over, and eventually the home side were awarded what looked to be a simple penalty. Cooke shocked his own fans, and gave the visitors a giggle as he skewed it wide from twenty metres.

On twenty-nine the Rhinos doubled their lead. A superb short pass from Andrew Dunemann put Walker through a gap in the Hull defence and he crashed over from ten metres. Sinfield converted but the twelve-nil scoreline was rather unfair on a battling Hull.

Cooke made some amends for his early miss when he slotted over a second simple penalty, this time after Poching interfered at the play-the-ball. It sent the sides into the dressing rooms with a ten point gap at 12-2, with the Rhinos resolute defence having been more responsible than any flair in attack.


Proving Worth
In the second half, the Rhinos had the wind at their backs, and were heading towards their own fans. They took advantage with the first score after fifty-two minutes. A good passing move, with devastating passes from Mathers, McGuire, and Poching (amongst others) found Senior on the overlap to cross in the left hand corner. Sinfield failed with the goal, but a 16-2 margin should have been a platform on which the Rhinos could build.

Instead of sealing the Rhinos victory, it signalled the start of the Hull fightback, an effort which almost got them the spoils.

On sixty-two a Cooke grubber kick fooled the Rhinos defence and Saxton scrambled to be first on the scene to score. Cooke added the conversion and the margin was narrowed to just eight. Saxton had a gilt-edged chance to further reduce the arrears a few minutes later but knocked-on relieving the Rhinos.

On seventy-five, and with the Rhinos visibly tiring, Raynor went over in the corner and on the overlap after some fast hands. Cooke failed but it was game on with the margin down to just four points.

Leeds were on the ropes. They looked spent physically, and were just holding on. As Hull filled with confidence they attacked once more and got to the Rhinos five metre. As Saxton played the ball with just under two minutes left, Hull were in a great position to score the winning try. In playing the ball he knocked-on, and the Rhinos players celebrated like it was the final hooter.

Getting posession from the scrum, the Rhinos stuck it up their jumper and ran the clock to zero to scrape the all important two points.

The Rhinos didn't play well tonight, and in all truth, they should have lost this game. Two stupid mistakes, both from Saxton, cost his new side a precious home victory over the Champions.

We need to get used to the intensive start we saw today. Every side we play this year will try and give us 'both barrels' in the opening quarter and we'll spend a lot of time in defensive practice.

In the end, two points are two points...we're on our way again!


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
Mathers63%
8
McKenna13%
6
Sinfield7%
4
Walker6%
2
Dunemann3%
2
Ellis3%
2
McGuire3%
2
Senior3%


Match Facts

Rhinos
Hull FC
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Mathers
16
Saxton
1
2
Calderwood
2
Blacklock
3
Walker
1
14
Tony
4
Senior
1
3
Yeaman
5
Bai
1
5
Raynor
1
13
Sinfield
2
6
Horne R.
6
McGuire
7
Lupton
8
Bailey
8
Dowes
14
Dunemann
9
Swain
15
Ward
23
McNicholas
18
Jones-Buchanan
11
McMenemy
12
McKenna
17
Chester
20
Ellis
13
Cooke
2
7
Burrow
15
Thackray
11
Lauiti'iti
18
Higgins
10
McDermott
24
Horne G.
16
Poching
31
Hill

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
12-02
Attendance:
17,080
Referee:
Karl Kirkpatrick


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