New faces but old problems for Rhinos
Barnet 24 Haringey Rhinos 7
HARINGEY Rhinos’ much-changed line-up stuttered and stumbled to a third-straight league loss as Barnet took the points by barely breaking sweat.
The Rhinos were missing player-coach Rubert Jonker through injury, with skipper Dom Gains taking his place at inside centre, and back-rower Gareth Evans replacing scrum-half Shaun Huiscamp.
There were also returns for veteran Tim Hutchins and Mark Montague, but the reshuffle to their line-up did Haringey no favours as Barnet took the game by the scruff of the neck.
Barnet’s early tactics saw the ball shifted wide time and again, and that brought about the opening try; quick hands shipping the ball to the winger who carved his way through some lacklustre defending to dot down in the corner.
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They soon stretched the lead against a Haringey defensive line lacking its usual sting. After a number of phases Barnet were able to penetrate, although their kicker, struggling for form, missed his second conversion of the day to leave the Rhinos just about in touch at 10-0.
However, the game began to slip away as Barnet’s winger ran in his second try of the day, and at half-time the scoreline reflected the one-way traffic.
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Jonker entered the fray for the second period – and quickly made an impact. Fly-half Murphy slipped a pass through a gap for Jonker to touch down, with Gareth Jones converting the try to leave Haringey 10 points adrift.
The forward trio of Rob Wood, Adam Berry and Tom Burrows continued to work hard around the park, but with little effect, as Barnet clung on to their lead.
After 20 phases of grinding play, the chance was lost for a cross-field kick which would almost certainly have led to a try for Evans, and with that, Haringey’s last chance was gone.
Indeed it was Barnet who finished the stronger side, and they added to the scoreline with a well-worked try from an overlap out wide.
The struggling Rhinos face an equally tough test this weekend with a trip to Datchworth.