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A round twelve encounter between joint league leaders, St Helens, and seventh placed Leeds Rhinos was likely to be a one-sided affair with the bookies giving the Rhinos a fourteen-point start on the coupon despite the Rhinos having Brodie Croft and Harry Newman back in their starting line-up along with on-loan Matty Russell.

Saints would end the night two points clear of the chasing pack of they were to pick up the win, the Rhinos could lift themselves into the top half of the table if they were to grab an unlikely win over the old enemy, something that they haven’t managed since a one-point win in March 2023.

Pre-game there was pessimism amongst the Rhinos fans, expectation amongst those supporting Saints.

Leeds nearly opened the scoring when on three minutes Harry Newman chased down a Brodie Croft grubber, but the kick was too strong, and the ball went dead before the Rhinos centre could ground.

A great break from Ash Handley after he took a Croft chip across field before he advanced the Rhinos by sixty metres but after he was hauled down a fast play the ball saw the ball out to Handley for the Leeds winger to score in the corner. Rhyse Martin added the conversion, the Rhinos 6-0 ahead.

Saints had a try ruled out by the video referee on thirteen, Curtis Sironen losing possession as he stretched to ground.

An awful pass by Matt Frawley went to Saints hands with Konrad Hurrell making good ground before passing outside to Sione Mata’utia to dove over for a simple try from a bad error. Mark Percival added the conversion to level the scores.

Ninety seconds from half time another mistake from the Rhinos, Luis Roberts knocking on a high kick, allowed Saints to pressure the Leeds line with Moses Mbye taking an offload and pushing over the line. Percival hit the target on the half time hooter for a 12-6 lead to Saints.

Four minutes after the restart the Saint took control when a Sironen offload went to the hands of Daryl Clark who jumped through a gap in the Rhinos defence to score. Percival hit the mark again for 18-6, the home side pulling away.

Returning the kick-off the Saints were in again as Jack Welsby leapt to take a high kick and spin over the line for the fourth home try of the night. Percival found his target again, for 24-6, the game over as a competitive fixture.

Leeds grabbed their second on fifty-seven minutes as they finally managed to string some sets together without making errors. The ball was moved wide right to Roberts to ground ne-handed in the corner. Martin pushed his conversion across the face of the goal, the deficit still fourteen points.

On sixty-three a rampant Saints broke downfield with Sironen being the man on the spot to take the final pass and stretch to ground through a broken Leeds defensive line. Percival made it five from five.

The sixth try, in what was now a Saints rout, came from Tommy Makinson as he took a cut-out pass from Welsby to walk in down the right wing. Percival missed his first kick of the night, back off the right upright.

A Percival break found Welsby in support for his second of the night through a broken Rhinos defence. Percival hit the mark again to bring up the forty.

The Rhinos will count themselves as unlucky to have gone in trailing at the interval, but they can have little complaint about the way that they surgically dissected in the second half by a ruthless St Helens side who deserved the two points and to go back to the top of the pile ahead of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures.

St Helens: Welsby (2T), Makinson (T), Hurrell, Percival (6/7 G), Blake, Lomax, Dodd, Mata’utia (T), Clark (T), Lees, Sironen (T), Batchelor, Bell.  Subs: Mbye (T), Delaney, Davies, Stephens. 18th Man: Bennison.

Leeds Rhinos: Miller, Handley (T), Roberts (T), Newman, Russell, Croft, Frawley, Oledzki, O’Connor, Sangare, McDonnell, Martin (1/2 G), Smith. Subs: Lisone, Nicholson-Watton, Ackers, Goudemand. 18th Man: Ruan. 

Half-Time: 12-6.

Full-Time: 40-10.

Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, 4-6, 6-6, 10-6, 12-6: HT: 16-6, 18-6, 22-6, 24-6, 24-10, 28-10, 30-10, 34-10, 38-10, 40-10 :FT.

Lead Exchanges: Leeds – Square – St Helens.

Referee: Liam Moore.  

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 24th May 2024 9:53 PM | Views : 3833 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES