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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Leeds Rhinos 42 Halifax 20

29th March 2002

By Leeds Rhinos

Kiwi Test centre Tonie Carroll scored a memorable hat-trick of tries as Leeds held off a spirited challenge from Halifax to climb to second place in Super League.

The Rhinos, down to 11 men at one stage after the sin-binning of captain Francis Cummins and substitute Wayne McDonald, were staring at defeat as the battling Blue Sox fought back from 24-10 down to trail just 24-20 with 18 minutes left.

WP – Home MPU

 But Leeds ran in three tries in a blistering nine-minute spell, including two from the impressive Carroll, to claim a remarkable victory that maintains the pressure on Super League leaders Bradford.

The final score was harsh on the visitors who also had a player sent to the sin bin but never gave up hope of springing a shock and in Andrew Dunemann had the outstanding player on the pitch.

A third defeat in four matches leaves them perilously close to the foot of the table but, on this form, Steve Linnane's men will soon be pushing for a top-six spot.

 The action was fast and furious from the start with Leeds making the best possible opening with eight points in the first six minutes.

Stand-off Ben Walker kicked a fourth-minute penalty, the first of nine successful kicks from as many attempts, and then provided the pass that sent second rower Andy Hay over for the opening try after re-gathering his own towering kick.

Another high kick, this time from the versatile Adrian Vowles, set up the position for Leeds' second try on 18 minutes, Carroll re-gathering to touch down for his first after Blue Sox defender Colum Halpenny had spilled the ball.

 The visitors launched their fightback on 24 minutes when Dunemann's high kick bounced kindly for winger Robbie Beckett to grab a try, and three goals from Danny Tickle, who was also in immaculate form with the boot, cut the gap to just four points.

It would have been even closer had Halifax been able to finish off a superb break by lively centre Stuart Donlan but Leeds soaked up the pressure and hit their visitors with a magnificent counter-attack.

Keith Senior underlined his claim to be Super League's form centre when he broke out of defence and sidestepped past full-back Daryl Cardiss to send winger Karl Pratt over for his side's third try.

Leeds were reduced to 12 men when Cummins was sin-binned for dissent in first-half injury time and they found themselves defending desperately as the hooter sounded.

 Prop Jim Gannon actually crossed the line following a break by the influential Dunemann with 13 seconds left on the clock but referee Bob Connolly disallowed the try for a forward pass.

Walker kicked two penalties early in the second half to stretch the Rhinos' lead to 24-10 but they found themselves down to 11 men with McDonald joining Cummins in the sin bin after disputing a penalty awarded against him.

 Halifax forward Jamie Bloem then became the third player to be shown the yellow card after he was penalised for obstruction and the teams were numerically equal when Cummins returned from the bin.

The video official was called on for a fourth time on 51 minutes when Tickle stretched out of a two-man tackle to plant the ball on the line and this time the decision went in Halifax's favour.

Senior then raced 70 metres to the line after picking up a loose ball but had the try disallowed for a late tackle.

Two more penalties from Tickle made it 24-20 and set up a tense finish.

But the game swung dramatically away from the visitors when Carroll demonstrated his exceptional power against a tiring defence to claim two tries in four minutes.

And diminutive substitute Rob Burrow also made light of some uncharacteristic wafer-thin tackling to race in for the Rhinos' sixth try.

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