RHINOS VICTORIOUS AGAINST OLDHAM

Kevin Sinfield scored two second half tries to help celebrate his testimonial game with a 50-4 win over his hometown club Oldham.

The last time Leeds played Oldham in a competitive match, Kevin Sinfield had made his debut for the Rhinos three weeks before, in August 1997. Ten seasons on, and with a flood of water under the clubs’ respective bridges, they came together again to mark the contribution of one of the Lancashire town’s favourite sons. When Sinfield signed for Leeds as a 13 year old, the sport was still a winter game and the damp, dank, windy conditions and muddied playing surface also fittingly harked back to those early days. Of the 2008 vintages, the defending Champions look in impressive form for their title defence; their performance full of the kind of invention and flair that the Newcastle football fans would give their eye teeth for. Of their nine tries, the third stood out as the ball rippled through 13 pairs of hands and a kick before the final sequence of Danny McGuire, Gareth Ellis, Jamie Jones-Buchanan – with an audacious off load – and a long pass from Rob Burrow which sent in Scott Donald. The Roughyeds hunted well in combination on defence, frequently pinning Leeds around their own line and in inventive half backs James Coyle and Matty Brooks showed glimpses of ball movement that will worry most in National Two. Leeds forced a drop out from the Sinfield kick off and scored soon after on a power play, the man of the moment finding Clinton Toopi, whose grubber to the in goal was fumbled allowing Brent Webb to pounce. Adam Robinson and Rob Roberts showed up well for the visitors but after the otherwise impressive Paul O’Connor had spilt a McGuire bomb near his own line, Matt Diskin kicked to the in goal for Jones-Buchanan to race in. Donald’s thriller – in which Toopi’s bat back and Ellis’ round the man pass were key – made it 16-0, as Keith Senior began to look menacing out wide. McGuire had a try disallowed when he lost possession being tackled on a solo skirmish and Oldham felt aggrieved that they did not get head and feed from a kick following a 20 metre tap that found touch – illustrating their enterprise. Roberts did brilliantly to track back and halt Webb before Senior conjured a lovely 70 metre score, interpassing with Donald down the South Stand side. Danny Halliwell, who worked hard throughout on debut, again tracked back to deny Webb, the Rhinos custodian then having a try chalked off when Ali Lauitiiti’s wonderfully smuggled pass was ruled forward. On half time, Oldham were rewarded for their creative endeavour, Coyle showing the ball and ghosting through on his own thirty metre line on the last tackle, his kick being hacked on by Mick Nanyn, ahead of Burrow, who touched down in the corner. Powerful surges from Ryan Bailey and Diskin and a drop out from Burrow’s scrum base grubber at the start of the second half led to Senior crossing after Webb had shown amazing finger tip control in the conditions. Brooks had a try chalked off when Helliwell collected Phil Joseph’s chip in an offside position; Diskin’s short pass sending in Bailey immediately afterwards in reply. Kylie Leuluai was held up as the Roughyed’s commitment was unwavering, Ryan Hall making an instant impact with an interception and fine clearing run on the back of which Senior powered in for his hat trick score from Burrow’s pass. The closing minutes, aptly, went to the main focus of attention as Sinfield crowned an emotional day with a quick fire brace of individual touchdowns. A ghost through and shimmy from twenty metres out set up his first and a dummy and slice through the next, his fifth conversion bringing up the half century. As a measure of their contribution to a highly satisfying afternoon all round, Oldham commendably ended the contest forcing a drop out. RHINOS: Brent Webb,Scott Donald, Clinton Toopi, Keith Senior, Lee Smith, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Kylie Leuluai, Matt Diskin, Jamie Peacock, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Gareth Ellis, Kevin Sinfield (C).Subs: Ryan Bailey, Ali Lauitiiti, Nick Scruton, Ian Kirke, Jordan Tansey, Ryan Hall, Luke Burgess OLDHAM: Paul O’Connor, Gareth Langley, Danny Halliwell, Mick Nanyn, Marcus St Hilaire, Neil Roden, James Coyle, Jason Boults, Simeon Hoyle, Warren Stevens, Adam Robinson, Robert Roberts (C), Chris Baines. Subs Said Tamghart, Phil Joseph, Tommy Goulden, Drew Houston, Matty Brooks, John Hough,