Menzies rolls back years as Dragons roast Rovers
Catalan Dragons 56 Hull KR 6
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Sunday 18 September 2011
The oldest player in Super League was instrumental in ending Hull Kingston Rovers' season and Justin Morgan's six years in charge.
Steve Menzies, who was named this week in the competition's Dream Team, 17 years after being voted Rookie of the Year in Australia, was too sprightly in this elimination semi-final for a Robins side who never looked like repeating their win in Perpignan two weeks ago.
Menzies scored two tries and set up another as the Dragons built a match-winning first-half lead. Sam Latus had threatened an opening try for Rovers before Menzies made his first contribution, intercepting Blake Green deep in his own half and setting course for the other end of the pitch. The 37-year-old second-row's legs would almost certainly have got him there, but he let Damien Blanch finish the job for the first of his hat-trick.
Blanch should have had a quick second, but knocked-on with the line open. No matter: Menzies capitalised on good work by Thomas Bosc and the Catalans were in double figures. Clint Greenshields then came into a sweeping, width of the field attack to give Blanch his second, before Scott Dureau's disguised pass and Menzies' change of angle gave the latter his 14th try of the season. Not even a change of referee, Robert Hicks replacing the ill James Child, could help Rovers, who went further behind to Darryl Millard's try, followed by a soft one from dummy-half by Eloi Pelissier.
Rovers were looking set to become the second side to be nilled in the first round of the play-offs, following Huddersfield at Warrington on Friday night, but Craig Hall's try at least averted that ignominy.
But Sébastien Raguin soon went through some more inept defence, followed by Cyril Stacul celebrating his return after a four-month absence by squeezing into the corner, Greenshields taking advantage of a deflectedkick and Blanch completing his collection. It was a dismal way for the overwhelmingly positive Morgan era at Rovers to end. His successor, another Australian to be named shortly, has some morale to rebuild.
Catalan Dragons: Greenshields; Blanch, Millard, Baile, Stacul; Bosc, Dureau; Ferriol, Henderson, Paea, Menzies, Casty, Mounis. Substitutes used: Pelissier, Fakir, Raguin, Baitieri.
Hull KR: Briscoe; Latus, Welham, Webster, Hall; Green,Dobson; Vella, Hodgson, Taylor, Newton, Galea, Watts. Substitutes used: Fisher, Lovegrove, Cox, Murrell.
Referee: J Child (Dewsbury)
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