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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Leeds Rhinos 6 Bradford Bulls 15

15th October 2005

By Leeds Rhinos

Leeds lost their grip on their Super League crown after going down 15-6 to Bradford at Old Trafford.

The game was as tense and tough as everyone had expected in the build up but the Rhinos had the lion share of possession in the first quarter. However, they went behind on 20 minutes after Barrie McDermott was penalised in front of the post for a swinging arm on former team mate Adrian Morley. Deacon duly added the penalty to make it 2-0.

WP – Home MPU

The Champions responded in emphatic style with the first try of the game in the next set. Bradford made a hash of the re-start gifting Leeds possession and after Bailey had gone close, Dunemann put a grubber kick through that McGuire beat Lauitiiti to the touchdown. Sinfield could not add the conversion but Leeds led 4-2 after 23 minutes.

The Bulls to their credit came right back at Leeds and Deacon levelled the game with a penalty after Dunemann was penalised for interference a metre out from the Leeds line after 28 minutes.  That came in the middle of the Bulls best spell of the game. Leeds knocked on 25 metres out from their own line and the Bulls reacted quickly, spreading the ball across field for Leon Pryce to power through the tackle and score in the corner. Deacon could not add the conversion so it was 8-4 to Bradford after 42 minutes.

Adrian Morley was penalised from the kick for a leading forearm in the tackle which gave Sinfield the opportunity to peg back two points which he did comfortably to make it 8-6 at half time.  Both teams were denied a try by the video ref at the start of the second half, for the Rhinos Chev Walker appeared to have grounded the ball in the corner but the video ref said the Great Britain centre had knocked on in the act of grounding.

Bradford then scored a decisive try and it was that man again Lesley Vainikolo who struck the killer blow with a typical powerful drive from close range to score. Deacon added the conversion to make it 14-6.

The Rhinos battled hard to retain their title but luck was not on their favour as they were confronted by a fearsome Bulls defence.  And almost to the script it was former Leeds hero Iestyn Harris who nailed the final nail in the coffin with a drop goal from 20 metres out with five minutes remaining leaving the Rhinos chasing a nine point gap and having to concede their title.
 

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