Leeds Rhinos Women 32 Bradford Bulls Women 16
Bradford Bulls Women vs Leeds Rhinos Women during the Women's Super League match at The Provident Stadium, Odsal, Bradford. Picture by Stephen Gaunt/Touchlinepics.com +447904 833202 15/04/2018
Leeds Rhinos Women made a strong statement in their first ever Super League fixture toppling treble winning Bradford Bulls with a 32-16 win on the road at Odsal Stadium.
Rhinos, who had called up three under 19 players in Caitlin Beevers, Frankie Townend and Kacey Haley for the fixture, also handed Super League debuts to seven first team players as they made their first foray into the competition.
It didn’t however take the Rhinos long to get acclimatised to the big stage as with just three minutes on the clock the visitors took the lead through Rhiannon Marshall, the half running onto a well timed pass from Captain Lois Forsell to have the honour of scoring the team’s first ever try. Marshall who was on kicking duty added the extras to make it 6-0.
In a pulsating start for the Rhinos, a second try followed minutes later extending the early lead through England International Lois Forsell. The hooker exploited a gap at dummy half to find the line under the posts giving the Rhinos a 12-0 start after Marshall converted her second kick.
A shell-shocked Bulls only found their footing in the game after 10 minutes when the Rhinos made their first mistake by kicking out on the full. The Bulls however couldn’t make any inroads on the scoreboard making errors of their own before the Rhinos struck another blow on 18 minutes.
Forsell who had been scheming early and often in the game to create opportunities for the Rhinos was once again on the end of the some good play this time connecting with a pass 30 meters out before stepping her way to the line to score her second. Marshall added once again to extend the lead to 18-0.
Before Bradford could gather, Rhinos struck for the fourth time in 21 minutes when more good hands on the attack sent the ball over to the right edge where Suze Hill opened her 2018 campaign to score in the corner. Marshall missed her first kick leaving the scores 22-0.
Despite being resolute for much of the first half in defence and going behind in the penalty count, Rhinos finally succumbed to the Bulls six minutes later on 27′. In similar fashion to the Rhinos try earlier, Bulls worked an opening out wide which Leah Jones converted to give the Bulls some momentum in the game. Garner kicked from the touchline to turn it into 6 points.
Bulls then grew in confidence following Jones’s effort and Hields and Hardcastle were denied a dangerous attacking chance minutes later when Forsell managed to tackle the latter into touch to deny a certain scoring opportunity.
It was Hardcastle, who proved to be a thorn in the Rhinos’ side for much of the game who eventually did score the Bulls second. Rachel Twibbell broke through a gap in middle field before finding Hardcastle who despite attention from a couple of defenders, managed to get the ball down making the scores 22-12 following a Garner conversion.
With both sides showing some of the signs of a fast paced first half, Rhinos and Bulls went close with further efforts before the half time hooter sounded.
The second half proved to be a much tighter affair on the scoreboard but with no less intensity from the Yorkshire rivals. Rhinos who conceded field position for much of the half kept the Bulls at bay with some big efforts on defence before Amy Johnson gave the visitors a much needed try.
Rhinos had been clever with their kicking game for most of the match and forced a dropout from the Bulls on 53 minutes which gave Leeds a chance to get on the front foot in attack. Johnson duly obliged and crashed over from the resulting set extending the lead to 28-12.
Johnson went close again on 66 minutes after Staveley had banged the ball into the Bulls 10 meters and Charlotte Booth also went close for the Rhinos knocking on near the line but further and final scores didn’t happen until the 75th minute when Bradford’s Moroney scored with a dummy half sneak over the line.
Rhinos were not to be denied the final say though as Booth, who had been taken off to receive some head strapping earlier in the contest finally got her try in the dying embers of the game to put the game out of reach at 32-6, securing a first win for Coach Adam Cuthbertson.
HT – 12-22
FT – 16-32
Tries – Moroney, Hardcastle, Jones,
Goals – Garner x2
Tries – Marshall, Forsell x2, Hill, Johnson, Booth
Goals – Marshall x4