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Not Hungry Like The Wolves
Posted by southstander on September 22 2006 - 23:28:39

Nine Points

The fact that a pitiful ten thousand made it through the turnsiles, a great number of those part of the fabulous support from over the Pennines, should have set alarm bells ringing in the head or Mr Hetherington. Either people thought that the Rhinos would coast through the game and were saving their money for next week against the Bulls, or there was a big backlash against the poor season that the Rhinos have had so far.

This was a crucial game and the opposition could not be underestimated in the way that we had Huddersfield in the Challenge Cup Semi. But we did, and once again we came an embarrassing cropper as our season ended in humiliation.

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

17

Rhinos

v

Wolves

18

SLXI - Play Off

22nd September 2006

Not Hungry Like The Wolves

Nick Scruton missed out as Smith asked Walker to play on the wing in his last Rhinos appearance before disappearing off to the west country and the kick and clap brigade. With McGuire and Burrow at half-backs we looked about as strong as we could be as we kicked-off towards the scoreboard end. The Wolves had the best of the early exchanges but it was the Rhinos who managed the first score somewhat against the run of play.

A Burrow high kick on the last forced a Wire knock-on and Leeds then used four tackles to get close. On the fifth Burrow ducked under two swinging arms and went ten metres to dive over next to the sticks. Sinfield converted for a six-nil lead. It was just the start we wanted and now we had to built on it.

With nine minutes on the clock the visitors struck back as the video referee ruled that Fa'afili had grounded the ball in the right hand corner a fraction of a second before breaking touch. Briers missed the conversion thanks to barracking from the SOuth Stand. We were still in the lead, and it was early. No panic.

On fourteen we got out of jail as the video referee ruled that Thackray was stripped of the ball in a two man tackle when at first glance it looked like a poor offload had been collected and scored by Rauhihi. Four minutes later and with one of the rare breaks in the game, Burrow shook free of his tacklers and went forty metres before drawing the full-back and passing inside for McGuire to score just left of the sticks. Sinfied added the extras for 12-4, an everything was going to plan.

A thirty-fourth minute Sinfield 40-20 was quickly followed by two Leeds penalties on the Wolves line but good defence frustratingly kept us out.


Burrow Opener

The last action of the half saw a Briers penalty from thirty-eight metres after Thackray was harshly judged to have put in a high tackle. At 12-6 we were still in control and despite some bad errors it looked like we had plenty left in the tank to step it up in the second half.

With the second half just two minutes old a suicidal pass from Sinfield found touch in the Rhinos twenty. The Wolves made good use of the ball from the scrum and three plays later Sullivan went through a gap to score on the angle. Briers kick came back off the post but the margin was now down to two. No time to panic, what we needed was composure...but we panicked.


Second Try
On forty-six McGuire put in a try saving tackle but looked to pick up an ankle injury which saw him immediately substituted (he did return for the last few minutes). On forty-nine Sinfield doubled the margin with a penalty from thirty metres after Parker had tried to decapitate Ryan Bailey.

Seven minutes later and the lead was six points as Sinfield goaled from ten metres after the Wolves were judged offside by referee Silverwood. At six ahead we just needed one more score to make it safe and a drop-goal looked on the cards.

But the Wolves had different ideas. With twenty-one left a Briers grubber from twenty-metres split the Rhinos defence and Westwood collected to score next to the posts. Briers converted this one and levelled the scores at 16-16. There were twenty minutes left and we could still win this one, despite us looking like we were only playing at 50%.

On sixty-seven the Rhinos played a perferct six deep in the Wolves twenty and on the last tackle the ball was flung back to Sinfield who kicked a perfect drop goal. One point up with thirteen to play. You felt we needed more, especially with the drop-goal king Briers on the field.

Two minutes later and Brier kicked his own drop goal from twenty to level the scores. The Rhinos were now on the back foot and when on seventy-eight Briers once again goaled, this time from forty, you knew that we didn't have enough time or energy to get back into it.

A short kick-off worked but then we dropped the ball as we worked into position and despite Warrington knocking-on themselves with seconds to go the timekeepers sounded the hooter and the 2006 season had climaxed in the most disappointing way for the Rhinos.

This was a poor Rhinos performance against a side who had far more hunger and passion, if not as much skill. I've no complaint, we held on in this game for long periods and in the end the right side won. They deserved it and we didn't...simple as that!

I've bitten my tongue all season about Tony Smith, allowing him the benefit of the doubt after that tremendous first season, but I have become increasingly disillusioned with his team selections, tactics and apparent lack of passion. Some of the stories that I have heard coming out of the Rhinos camp have made me think that he has been coming to the end of his tenure and I now see no other option but for Hetherington to sack him or for him to 'fall on his sword' before Hetherington puts ink to his P45.

In the last two years we have gone seriously backwards from a team competing and capable of winning every major honour to a team that has been humiliated in the two most important games of the season (tonight and that Cup Semi) and who has even been beaten by the side that ultimately got relegated from Superleague. Enough is enough Gary, you can see that the lads don't want to play for him, it's time to give someone else a try at the helm.

What a shocking end to a very, very disappointing season. Like many of you out there I will now be seriously thinking about whether I should renew my season ticket (especially at these outrageous prices) unless we see some serious management changes...and quickly.

Please vote for your man-of-the-match in the front page poll.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Wolves
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
28
Tansey
5
Reardon
2
Donald
2
Fa'afili
1
30
Toopi
3
Gleeson, Martin
4
Senior
4
Kohe-Love
5
Walker
18
Barnett
6
McGuire
1
6
Briers
2
2
7
Burrow
1
25
Bridge
18
Jones-Buchanan
16
Wood
9
Diskin
14
Gleeson, Mark
10
Peacock
20
Rauhihi
22
Kirke
11
Swann
22
Ellis
12
Wainwright
13
Sinfield
4
1
15
Westwood
1
14
Millard
7
Sullivan
1
11
Lauiti'iti
19
Parker
29
Thackray
24
Riley
8
Bailey
22
Pickersgill

Kick Off:
20:10
Half-Time:
12-06
Referee:
Richard Silverwood
Crowd:
10,548


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