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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Leeds Rhinos 20 Catalan Dragons 12

30th August 2013

By Leeds Rhinos

The Rhinos needed two late tries from Mitch Achurch and Danny McGuire to seal a hard earned victory over Catalan Dragons at Headingley Carnegie.

Leeds were dealt a blow before kick off with Rob Burrow ruled out with a back injury so Mitch Achurch was drafted into the squad. Danny McGuire made his comeback at scrum half whilst Kevin Sinfield reverted to hooker with Paul McShane suspended. 

WP – Home MPU

The Catalan side included former Leeds start Brent Webb whilst legendary Australian Steve Menzies started at centre in possibly his final appearance on English soil during a glittering career. 

The opening quarter was a frustrating affair for players, coaches and spectators alike as both teams were guilty of producing too many errors on attack. That was partly due to poor execution but also as a result of some intense defensive pressure in midfield that led to the teams looking to create gaps with offloads and spreading the ball wide at nearly every opportunity.

Leeds had the best chance to break the deadlock when Carl Ablett broke clear on his own 20 metre line and raced up field before offloading to Ryan Hall twenty metres from the Dragons line. However, Catalan had regathered well and Hall was forced back infield and they were able to deal with the danger.

The game came to life following an altercation between Ryan Bailey and Damian Blanch on the South Stand touchline. Several players from both teams joined the wrestle but it was the instigators who were singled out by referee Phil Bentham after a lengthy chat with touch judge Joseph Cobb who were sent to the sin bin.

Leeds took advantage of the extra man outwide and Hall crossed for the opening try of the game after 28 minutes when he spotted the Dragons defence flat footed on the blindside. He scooped up the ball from dummy half, shrugged off the attempted tackle by the marker and then stepped back inside passed Brent Webb to score. Kevin Sinfield added the conversion to give his side a 6-0 lead.

The Rhinos had other half chances as the half grew on with Jamie Peacock rolling back the years with a great break down the touchline and Joel Moon but they were unable to find a way through the well marshalled Dragons defence. Eventually Sinfield settled for a kick at goal from a penalty three minutes before half time to stretch his side’s lead to 8-0.
Leeds nearly increased their lead at the start of the second half when Brad Singleton produced a storming run close to the Catalan line before crashing over. It looked as if he had scored the first try of his Rhinos career only for referee Bentham to adjudge he had been held up.

Catalan took full advantage and scored soon after. The try came following a period of pressure and eventually it was Lopini Paea who popped up on the fringes to take a short pass and go over. Thomas Bosc added the conversion to bring his side within touching distance.

The men from Perpignan then hit the front with twenty minutes to play when Olivier Elima was on hand to benefit from Scott Dureau clever play and he touched down. Once again Bosc was on target to give his side a 12-8 lead.

Leeds battled hard to find a way through but needed a desperate tackle from Hardaker on Whitehead, after the former Bradford man had collected an interception. The Leeds full back was penalised at the tackle in a contentious decision however poetic justice was perhaps achieved when Bosc uncharacteristically drilled the kick wide.

That seemed to give the Rhinos a lift and they rallied to win the game in the final five minutes. Man of the match Jamie Peacock produced a great one handed offload in traffic and Liam Sutcliffe put Mitch Achurch away. The forward showed great pace to pull clear and touch down. Sinfield added the conversion to give his side a narrow 14-12 lead.

Catalan chanced their arm to try and snatch a late winner but could not get out of their own area due to errors and Leeds took full advantage with McGuire touching down Sinfield’s clever grubber in the final minute to seal the win. Sinfield kept up his perfect night with the boot to make the final score 20-12.

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