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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Warrington Wolves 14 Leeds Rhinos 20

8th March 2009

By Leeds Rhinos

The Rhinos withstood a second half fightback from Warrington to secure a 20-14 win thanks to a late try by Danny McGuire.

However, that meant that young hooker Paul McShane was able to make his first start for the club with Danny Allan drafted into the squad to start on the bench. 

WP – Home MPU

The most significant change for Warrington since their last game was the appointment of former Leeds Head Coach Tony Smith. 

The Rhinos made the best possible start with a try from their first possession. Having gained a penalty near their own line they moved the ball down field before a bouncing grubber kick by Danny McGuire caught both defenders out and Carl Ablett was on hand to touch the ball down. Kevin Sinfield added the conversion to make it 6-0 after three minutes. 

It got even better for the Champions two minutes later when Sinfield doubled their lead. The chance came from a great 40:20 kick by McShane and from the ensuing possession, the Leeds captain used his power to force his way over. He added the conversion to make it 12-0 without Warrington having touched the ball. 

Warrington should have cut the lead when Michael Monaghan latched on a loose ball when Lee Smith failed to deal with a swirling high kick but his inside pass to Vinnie Anderson was knocked on and the chance was gone. However it was not long before the Wolves did get their first try. Possession came from a penalty just inside the Leeds half following a high tackle on Paul Johnson and eventually Lee Briers managed to find a way through to score. Chris Hicks could not add the conversion so it remained 12-4 after 15 minutes. 

The Rhinos dominated possession after that with several good breaks however the closest they came to a try was when Danny McGuire was held up over the line on the last tackle. 

They were then grateful to the defensive skills of Scott Donald, who chased back to tackle Paul Johson and take him into touch just as Warrington looked to break against the run of play on the half hour mark. 

Two minutes later the Rhinos were able to increase their lead when Sinfield kicked a penalty from 35 metres out after interference at the play the ball from Warrington. 

However, with time running out in the first half the Rhinos suffered a sucker punch. Smith was trapped in goal and from the drop out Warrington were awarded a penalty ten metres out. Referee Steve Ganson spotted Donald was offside 20 metres away from the play the ball on the blindside and two tackles later Mickey Higham forced his way over. Hicks added the conversion to make it 14-10 at half time. 

Warrington, no doubt spurred on by the words of their new coach, came out fired up at the start of the second half and could have levelled the game after 49 minutes when Louis Anderson attempted to power his way over but he was held up by three Leeds tacklers. Leeds went right down the other end themselves with a break by SInfield but his kick ahead for Donald was wrapped up by Riley just in time. 

However, it was Warrington who were enjoying the lions share of possession and they spent a long period in the Leeds half just before the hour mark thanks to a big hit by Adrian Morley on Ryan Hall that led to a repeat set and a penalty against Ryan Bailey. Eventually the pressure told and quick hands released Hicks down the touchline to level the score after 57 minutes. However he could not add the conversion and that was how it remained. 

There was a bout of pushing and shuffing after that between Ryan Bailey and Paul Rauhihi however Warrington forward Louis Anderson was lucky to escape further punishment after running in from ten metres away to throw a flurry of punches to Bailey’s head from behind. The incident was placed on report and could see further repercussions. 

The Rhinos did not allow themselves to get drawn into a brawl by the Wolves and came up with the next try. Clever play on the last tackle kept the ball alive before an astute kick by Ablett forced Riley to attack from deep. Jamie Jones-Buchanan met the full back on the 20 metre line with a crunching tackle that forced him to drop the ball. Ever alert, Sinfield reacted straight away and fed McGuire. He stepped his way through the Warrington defence beautifully to score. Sinfield added the conversion to make it 20-14 after 70 minutes. 

With two minutes remaining Sinfield looked to seal the win with a drop goal from 25 metres out but in the swirling wind his attempt drifted just wide. 

There was still time for some last minute nerves as Smith had the ball taken off him by Matt King from a high bomb but in an effort to keep the ball alive Jon Clarke knocked on and the Rhinos had maintained their unbeaten start to the season.

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