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'Cats Show Their Teeth
Posted by southstander on March 30 2005 - 11:23:10

Out-Smarted?
How wrong can you get a match preview? About as wrong as I did for the Wakefield game.

Even the most die-hard optimistic Wakefield supporter must have travelled to Headingley expecting a trouncing, as the Rhinos looked to continue their relentless march to Old Trafford 2005.

Food poisoning meant that I was missing my first game for ages, so here is the belated match report courtesy of Matthew Horton and Phil Daly.

28

Rhinos

v

Wildcats

44

Superleague X

28th March 2005

'Cats Show Their Teeth


By Matt Horton (with assistance from Phil Daly)

The Rhinos entertained the Wildcats at Headingley looking to match the 21 match unbeaten run in Super League set by the Bulls in 1997. The Rhinos were missing Danny Ward and Andrew Dunemann through injury and Lee Smith got his first opportunity in First Grade from the bench. It was however a night to forget the visitors failed to read the script as Shane McNally’s side shrugged off their recent wretched form of three straight defeats to destroy Leeds’ 100% start to the season and with it their hopes of making Super League history.

Wakefield began brightly; although they were caught cold on 7 minutes when a pass from Kevin Sinfield on the Wakefield line was batted in to the in-goal area by Applegarth. Rob Burrow just beat the ball to the dead ball line to touch down after eight minutes. Sinfield converted to make it 6-0.

The Wildcats remained undeterred and after Houles was dragged down short of the line, a quick play the ball allowed Steve Snitch to cross the line within seconds of replacing Olivier Elima, they were right back in the game. Jamie Rooney added the extras to tie the scores level at 6-6 before Wakefield caught the Rhinos with a classic counter-attacking move to edge ahead on 22 minutes.

David March, after a hint of a shepherd, burst through midfield before finding the supporting David Wrench, who delivered a delightful offload to the onrushing Jason Demetriou. He crashed over from 10 metres out, Rooney goaled and then remarkably, just minutes later, and Wakefield edged further ahead 4 minutes later when the impressive Demetriou found Colum Halpenny, who grounded in the South-East corner.

Danny McGuire returned after his absence through injury in the hope of sparking the Rhinos into life. However, it was to no avail and March crossed the line from acting half shortly after Feather has been held just short and Rooney added the extras to hand his side a shock 22-6 advantage at half time.

It was vital that Leeds got the first score of the second half but Wakefield continued to defend superbly and they deservedly extended their lead five minutes after the restart when March grabbed his second try of the game from close range, Rooney again adding the extras to make it 28-6.

Amazingly, the Wildcats could have edged further ahead minutes later only for a superb try saving tackle by Calderwood on Semi Tadulala in the South-West corner.

Leeds threw themselves a lifeline on 50 minutes when excellent work by Keith Senior coming in off the left flank saw him find former Wakefield star Gareth Ellis, who notched a try that Sinfield converted to give Leeds a glimmer of hope.

However, it proved short-lived as Ben Jeffries lofted a superb kick into the left-hand corner and this time Tadulala was able to collect and ground in the corner without any Leeds players near him. This was on the back of a big error from Kevin Sinfield when the skipper failed to find touch with a penalty. Rooney failed to convert but Wakefield’s 32-12 lead was a healthy one and an advantage that simply served to spur the Wildcats onto bigger and better things.

Evidence of that came shortly after the hour mark when Jeffries created the space to find Darrell Griffin, who crashed over the whitewash before Rooney added the extras.

Liam Botham and then Senior both crossed the line in the space of three minutes to give Leeds hope, but the Wildcats held on for the win which was sealed in style when Demetriou intercepted a stray pass by Willie Poching to race clear in front of the ecstatic travelling hordes on the Western Terrace. Rooney again converted to give the visitors a handsome scoreline, making Burrow’s second try after good work from McKenna little more than consolation.

Full credit to Wakefield, they deserved these two points tonight. They won the battle up front. Griffin. Korkidas and Snitch were outstanding and they laid the platform for Rooney and Jeffries to call the shots. Leeds missed the direction provided by Dunemann and maybe two games in a short space of time are too much. Lee Smith, a second half substitute, showed he has the ability to play at this level but for the first time in a long time the Rhinos were beaten up front in the engine room. Ian Millward was very critical of the two games at Easter after the Saints Bulls game and to be honest, I agree with him as Leeds looked out on their feet on occasions tonight. The Rhinos now must look to bounce back for the Powergen Challenge Cup tie against the Warrington Wolves on Saturday. Don’t forget the South Stand is all ticket and there will be NO cash turnstiles on the day for the South Stand.

Matt would like to thank Phil Daly for his help and assistance with this match report.


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
Burrow31%
8
Botham25%
6
Ellis20%
4
Sinfield8%
3
Senior6%
2
Walker4%
1
Bai2%
1
McKenna2%
1
Mathers2%

Check out the season standings here.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Wildcats
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Mathers
21
Field M.
2
Calderwood
1
Halpenny
1
3
Walker
3
Demetriou
4
Senior
1
24
Houles
2
5
Bai
5
Tadulala
1
13
Sinfield
4
6
Rooney
6
7
Burrow
2
7
Jeffries
8
Bailey
8
Griffin
1
16
Poching
9
March
2
17
McDonald
10
Korkidas
21
Botham
1
11
Solomona
12
McKenna
18
Elima
20
Ellis
1
22
Applegarth
22
Scruton
16
Snitch
1
6
McGuire
15
Wrench
23
Smith
27
Feather
10
McDermott
25
Kirk

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
06-22
Penalties:
8-7
Attendance:
18,257
Referee:
Ian Smith


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