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Senior breaks drought - Australian Rugby league News
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globalrugbyleague - Wed, 01 Oct 2008 21:18:00 GMT
Keith Senior, a man used to upending records in the English Super League, broke another one to the relief of his biggest fans during Leeds’ 18-14 preliminary final over Wigan last weekend.
The 31-year-old Great Britain centre – who is signed up with the reigning premiers for one more season - earned great applause after snatching a try in a play-offs series for the first time in six years.
That piece of history could not have come at a better time for the Rhinos after video referee Ian Smith denied Ali Lauitiiti, Rob Burrow and Jamie Peacock the right to score before the break.
Senior took out that honour after Lauitiiti ran down the left side and handed the ball to Scott Donald who set Senior up perfectly with an inspirational inside pass.
That try set up a 14-2 lead to Leeds but that didn't stop Wigan from courageously fighting back through short-range tries to Harrison Hansen and Iafeta Paleaaesina, both of which were converted by Pat Richards.
However Leeds managed to capitalise on a Wigan handling error and defuse any possibility of an upset via Lee Smith’s second touchdown of the evening.
In a contest that could not be accused of lacking drama and a bit of spite between the old rivals, Lee Smith and hooker Matt Diskin were placed on report while ex-Leeds player Mark Calderwood and Senior enjoyed a lovely spell in the sin-bin.
St Helens – who enjoyed the week off waiting to find out who they will tackle at Old Trafford this Saturday – have had all the luck this week with Saints prop James Graham being named as the 2008 Super League Man of Steel.
Former NRL halfback Tim Smith must have been thanking the football gods for his fortune after watching former teammates at Parramatta fail to make the finals while his move to Wigan proved to be an end of year blessing.
Wigan coach Brian Noble could not deny Leeds credit where it was due, that being mainly in the ruck.
“All credit to Leeds, their ruck speed in the second half meant we had too much defending to do and we didn’t have enough ball at their end of the field, but Mark Calderwood epitomised their character.”
Leeds coach Brian McLennan – who won a Tri-Nations title in his first year as Kiwi coach – will try and repeat such a historic achievement by continuing where former coach Tony Smith finished off.
Leeds 18 (Smith (2), Senior tries; K Sinfield 3 goals) d Wigan 14 (H Hansen, I Paleaaaesina tries; P Richards 3 goals) at Headingley Stadium. Crowd: 13,112. - Read More, Here