Clinical Storm seize world title as Burrow blows Leeds' chance

Leeds 14 Melbourne Storm 18

Headingley

Leeds were left to rue their squandered opportunities as they lost their crown as the best club side in the world.

The Rhinos were bidding for a record fourth World Club Challenge and they could have had it if they had taken the chances produced by some expansive play in a free-flowing spectacle.

Rob Burrow, so often a match-winner for the Rhinos, was the prime offender as he butchered a certain try. By comparison, the star-studded Storm were clinical and that is why they will go home as world champions.

Leeds opted for two relatively inexperienced Australians in their line-up – Joe Vickery on the right wing and Mitch Achurch on the bench – whilst the Storm hinted at their strength in depth by being able to omit the former Wigan stand-off, Brett Finch, altogether.

The North of England generally produces something a bit special weather-wise to welcome the Aussies for this fixture and a freezing night at Headingley was no exception.

Players struggled to keep their footing early on, but a typical break from Billy Slater produced the first pressure of the game and three sets for Leeds to defend. The Rhinos looked equally menacing when Kevin Sinfield's pass released Joel Moon, but the first points came via Cameron Smith's boot, after Stevie Ward was caught offside.

Slater's tackle in the corner denied Moon the first try of a thoroughly open game. Just before the mid-point in the first half, however, it was Melbourne who crossed the whitewash; Cooper Cronk's reverse pass, Ryan Hoffman's run, Slater in support and Leeds were opened up.

There were angry scenes after Jason Ryles took out Sinfield with a late tackle. The punishment was limited to a penalty, but from that possession Leeds scored.

Danny McGuire's superb pass sent in Ryan Hall, who had already been over the try-line without being able to touch down. The Rhinos should have been ahead when Kallum Watkins made a clean break from full-back, but Burrow, perfectly positioned in support, unaccountably put his pass down.

There was another golden chance before half-time, when Ward's run split the defence but his pass would not go to hand for McGuire. Instead, an offside penalty gave Sinfield the chance to level the scores, which he accepted in typically nerveless fashion.

That left an engrossing contest perfectly balanced, with first points in the second half obviously at a premium. They went to the Storm, after Achurch conceded a penalty for a high tackle on Ryles.

Melbourne seized their chance, thanks to Jesse Bromwich's charge through three attempted tackles, and Smith added his third goal.

Four minutes later a dazzling series of passes culminated in Sisa Waqa getting the ball away to Tohu Harris for a ten-point lead. After Leeds' missed chances in the first half, it had been a concise lesson in finishing.

Brilliant interplay under Sinfield's kick brought Leeds back into it, Hall jumping highest to catch and combining with Moon to put Jamie Jones-Buchanan over. It was a try that emphasised the high skill factor of the match and it inspired the Rhinos to mount another wave of attacks.

Mahe Fonua was denied what would have been a clinching Storm try for a forward pass after a clever kick from Cronk. That was an interlude amid Leeds' desperate siege on the line, but, try as they might, the Rhinos could not get their noses in front and were forced to surrender their title to the resolute Melbourne side.

Leeds: Watkins; Vickery, Ablett, Moon, Hall; Sinfield, McGuire; Leuluai, Burrow, Peacock, Delaney, Jones-Buchanan, Ward.Substitutes used: Clarkson, Kirke, McShane, Achurch.

Melbourne Storm: Slater; Waqa, Chambers, O'Neill, Fonua; Widdop, Cronk; Bromwich, Smith, Norrie, Harris, Hoffman, Hinchcliffe.Substitutes used: Ryles. Setu, Vave, Moors.

Referee: B.Thaler (England)

News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat