A tale of two halves. More so than usual this time around.
The opening whistle sounded on the 13th of June but the final whistle wasn’t blown until the 13th of July.
The first half was played in Carrickfergus on a beautiful June summers day. The Rhinos travelled north fresh on the back of their first victory of the season and looked to continue that, opening the scoring on their first drive with a pass from Arun Mooney to Tom Fanning who had the strength to hold off 2 defenders as he found his way across the goal line from 30 yards out. And in typical Rhinos/Knights fashion the defenses kicked in, and hard too. Neither team would give up much on the ground or in the air and it was the Rhinos touchdown and two point conversion that separated the sides at half time, 8-0. As the first half came to an end, nobody expected the half time would last a full month.
An injury to one of the Knights players during the first half saw the ambulance in attendance transport the player to hospital. In circumstances like this the game is put on hold until the ambulance returned however in this instance the ambulance could not return. The bizarre situation became more bizarre when the second half was rescheduled to be played out at a neutral venue in the week between the final regular season games and the wild card playoff games.
And so the 13th of July saw both teams travel to Navan to play out the remainder of the game. Both teams were ready for a game and as if it had picked up from where it left off, the stalemate continued. Both teams defenses made big plays when it mattered. The Knights looked most likely to score until Adam Skelly intercepted a pass on the goal line, his first of two on the day.
With the Knights defense shutting down the Rhinos offense, it was squarely on the shoulders of the defense to keep the Rhinos 8-0 from the first half. And that they did with a stout performance rounded out with a second Adam Skelly interception inside 2 minutes of the fourth quarter allowing the Rhinos to take a knee to conclude the month long game.