Leeds Rhinos 32 Manchester Thunder 43: Play-off debutants fall short as Thunder uses height advantage Yorkshire News

Leeds Rhinos’ Brie Grierson passes the ball during the Vitality Netball Super League third-place loss to the Manchester Thunder at the Copper Box Arena. Image: Chloe Knott / Getty Images for England Netball.

Despite only making their Super League debut this season, Leeds Rhinos made an excellent impression, setting high standards, week after week.

Coach Dan Ryan used the same starting seven as Saturday, with Sienna Rushton once again as scorer replacing Rhinos star shooter Donnell Wallam, who has returned to Australia due to a family duel. Rhinos lost 43-32 but took the lead with just one goal.

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Thunder had the height advantage in the circle and Nicki Oyesola and Tuaine Keenen delivered class performances on their defensive end, intercepting several high balls and maintaining a level playing field despite not having the inches against Ellie Cardwell and Joyce Mvula.

Leeds Rhinos in defensive action against Manchester Thunder. Image: Chloe Knott / Getty Images for England Netball.

As the break approached, the Rhinos began to pull away from the contention for third place, falling five goals behind and forcing Ryan to make a defensive switch, trading Emily Hollingsworth for Fi Toner.

Defensive pressure from the Thunder made it difficult for Sienna Rushton and Rhea Dixon to find space under the post, and as a result, the Rhinos were forced to shoot from distance over and over again without disturbing Manchester.

However, it did not surprise the youngsters, as they managed to reduce the goal difference to two in the fourth quarter.

When the game came to a close, Thunder seemed more dominant on the court, playing the ball with intent and an aggressive approach to the post that the Rhinos could no longer defend, leaving them 11 goals behind.

However, “disappointing” was not the word to describe the afternoon game.

Although the Yorkshire team did not return victorious, finishing fourth in their debut season is a great achievement and has indicated that they are a tough team worth keeping an eye on next season.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-27 17:18:34

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