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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Leeds Rhinos 18 Bradford Bulls 20

13th April 2006

By Leeds Rhinos

A try from Brett Ferres in the last seconds of the game snatch victory for Bradford Bulls at Headingley Carnegie.

All the talk in the build up to this game was about Bradford coach Brian Noble and Wigan's approach for his services and it appeared that the small matter of Jamie Peacock captaining the Rhinos against his former club was a mere subplot before kick off. The Rhinos started the game brightly and made good yards when in possession however the match was as tense and tough as had been predicted in the build up and the Bulls asked plenty of questions early on of the Leeds defence. Ian Kirke stood out in the opening exchanges, playing in probably the biggest game of his career, he produced some great defence and two charging runs down field. Both teams had half chances before the first score of the game and it came to the visitors. Gareth Ellis appeared to be harshly penalised for a high tackle. Iestyn Harris took a quick tap that caught the Rhinos napping, the former Leeds captain was tackled but the Rhinos were on the back foot now. Bradford moved the ball wide to Withers and he produced a brilliant off load to set Stanley Gene up for the try. Deacon added the conversion to make it 6-0 after 13 minutes.

WP – Home MPU

Leeds then had opportunities for McGuire and Peacock before Keith Senior had to produce a great cover tackle to stop Iestyn Harris in his tracks. Paul Deacon then knocked on on the last tackle. The Rhinos did finally hit back after 32 minutes and it took a brilliant off load from Jamie Jones-Buchanan to create the score. The second rower was lifted in the tackle by former team mate Chris McKenna but as he spun round he offloaded to Ellis to stroll in under the posts. Burrow added the conversion to level the score. Jones-Buchanan nearly set up another score with four minutes remaining in the half but his reverse flick pass to Nick Scruton just fell short. Leeds almost scored at the end of the half, with two seconds remaining the ball was kicked from the base of the scrum and Vainikolo made a meal of gathering the bouncing ball but just managed to grab it before the unrushing Scott Donald could get his boot to the ball, leaving it 6-6 at half time.

The Rhinos came out fired up at the start of the second half and produced a great defensive set of six to pen the Bulls in their own quarter. Senior then had an opportunity to score and tried to offload to Williams however Marcus Bai touched the ball in flight and Leeds were given head and feet ten metres out. Leeds did not need a second invitation and Rob Burrow then forced his way out of the attempted tackle by his opposite number Deacon to score in the corner. He then dusted himself off and kicked a brilliant touchline conversion to make it 12-6 to the Rhinos after 44 minutes. However, the Bulls showed their Champion spirit and came right back at the Rhinos and it was two former Rhinos who gave them the lead. Firstly, Iestyn Harris produced a trademark try from close range after Richard Mathers was penalised for back chat to the referee and then a crossfield kick from Deacon was pin point perfect for Marcus Bai to collect and score in the same movement. Deacon could not convert the second try to leave it 16-12 to the visitors after 58 minutes.

Referee Richard Silverwood then referred a decision to video ref Robert Connolly but he correctly adjudged that Stanley Gene had grounded the ball short. Connolly was needed again after 67 minutes but this time the try was awarded to the Rhinos. Danny McGuire's towering bomb was knocked back by Danny Williams and Richard Mathers picked up the ball to touch down. Burrow missed the conversion so the score remained 16-16. The game was now building to a thrilling climax and the Rhinos got the chance to take the lead with five minutes remaing when Adam Watene was penalised for a high shot. Leeds elected to take a rare penalty from in front of the posts 25 metres out and Rob Burrow duly gave the Rhinos the lead. However, there was one final twist in the tale and it came in the last second. Vainikolo and Hape created an opening out wide and the Bulls spread the ball wide across the width of the field and Brett Ferres crashed over in the corner, Deacon missed the conversion but the Bulls had secured the narrowest of victories by 20-18.

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