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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Bradford Bulls 14 Leeds Rhinos 30

23rd May 2008

By Leeds Rhinos

Leeds Rhinos were given their hardest test in a derby clash this season at Odsal but still manage to record a 30-14 win over the Bulls. The Rhinos arrived at the Grattan Stadium, Odsal looking to make it three from three in derby games this season after big wins at Headingley Carnegie and the Millennium Stadium. Leeds had been in impressive form the previous week in beating Super League's form team, Wakefield, whilst Bradford had late withdrawals by Iestyn Harris and Paul Deacon to contend with. Both players picked up hamstring injuries at the end of their final training session that ruled them out and left the Bulls with a half back pairing of Glenn Morrison and Ben Jeffries.

Bradford looked to have made a great start when Paul Sykes kick off bounced over the head of Scott Donald and out of play. However, from the ensuing drop out, Joe Vagana knocked on on the first tackle as both teams failed to settle early on. That pattern continued for the first team minutes with the home side enjoying the majority of possession but neither side able to keep hold of the ball to seriously threaten the others line. Eventually, the Bulls did manage to make the most of their possession. Keith Senior appeared to be very harshly penalised by referee Phil Bentham on the advise of his touch judge. Three tackles later Dave Solomona powered through the attempted tackle by Danny McGuire and Nick Scruton to score. Sykes' conversion attempt hit the post and rebounded away to leave it 4-0 after 16 minutes. The Bulls were denied a try by the video ref two minutes later when replays showed that Dave Halley knocked on an attempted intercept of Brent Webb's pass before kicking ahead to score. The young winger was not denied after 22 minutes when he timed his run to perfection to collect Ben Jeffries cross field kick to score passed Rob Burrow. Sykes was again wide with the kick so it remained 8-0. The Champions needed to get themselves back into the game and they got a chance when Bradford were pulled back for a forward pass just inside their own half. From the scrum the Rhinos moved the ball right before switching play back the other way. McGuire got the ball in centre field and went on an arcing run to the corner, he appeared to be tackled short but did brilliantly to reach out behind his head to put the ball down. Sinfield's conversion made it 8-6 after 25 minutes and set a new Super League record for points in consecutive games. Referee Phil Bentham was enduring the wrath of the home supporters after their side gave away a string of penalties attempting to slow the Rhinos attack down. However, Leeds kept their minds on the job and with three minutes remaining in the half Sinfield released Senior, he burst down field before passing back inside to Rob Burrow to score between the posts. Sinfield converted to make it 12-8 at half time.

WP – Home MPU

The Rhinos had a great chance just four minutes into the second half to extend their lead but after Sinfield released Donald, Webb was unable to take the return pass and knocked on with the line at his mercy. The second half started in very much the same mould as the first with both teams making too many errors. Once again the Bulls enjoyed the lion share of possession and once again they scored the first try of the half. They moved the ball quickly and fast hands by Terry Newton released Tame Tupou in the corner to score. Sykes kicked his first goal of the night to retake the lead 14-12 after 55 minutes. The Rhinos looked in trouble but they turned the game on its head with two quick fire tries. The first came from a moment of brilliance from Gareth Ellis when he kept his ball carrying arm off the floor to offload to Webb. Quick passes between Webb, McGuire and Sinfield released Ali Lauitiiti who marked his return from six games out with a try. Two minutes later, Kylie Leuluai burst through in midfield before passing to the supporting run of Jordan Tansey. Tansey passed to McGuire, then took the return from the half back before passing to Webb to score between the posts. Sinfield converted both tries to make it 24-14. Video ref Steve Ganson denied the Bulls a fourth time with four minutes remaining when he adjudged Tupou had grounded the ball short of the line. The Rhinos had the last word in the final minute when Keith Senior brushed off two would be tacklers to score in the corner. Sinfield converted to make the final score 30-14 for the Champions and continue their lead at the top of the engage Super League. 

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