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It was top against bottom as St Helens hosted the Leeds Rhinos, Richard Agars side arriving at the Totally Wicked Stadium on a hiding to nothing. The bookies could only see one outcome, the continued relentless charge of the home side to the minor premiership.

Saints took a surprising loss to the London Broncos a fortnight ago out after resting several players for their trip south but they made amends with a big win against the Huddersfield Giants last weekend. The Rhinos lost to the Warriors last weekend and are now desperate for the points after Londons win against Hull KR last night.

Both sides made a couple of changes to last weekends sides, Kallum Watkins named in the Leeds second row for his penultimate game before departing for Australia.

With less than a minute on the clock the home side registered their opening try when Leeds returning full-back Jack Walker failed to deal with a Lachlan Coote high kick and Kevin Naiqama picked up the bouncing ball to go over from ten metres. Coote added the goal for 6-0, the Rhinos stunned.

Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook ran in Saints second after three and a half minutes as the non-existant Leeds defensive line opened up for a simple run in for the Saints loose forward. Coote kicked the second conversion.

After being smashed out of sight in the opening exchanges the Rhinos managed to steady the ship and on fifteen Brad Dwyer stepped out of a tackle and lunged for the line to ground under the sticks after Lachlan Coote had knocked on a high kick.  Liam Sutcliffe added the goal.

Coote made amends for his handling error with a try on eighteen taking a pass in the line and stepping between two Leeds players for a simple try. The Saints full back converted his own try for 18-6.

Zeb Taia was hauled down short after Dwyer gave the ball away with a wayward pass. Five seconds from  the interval Saints scored again with an acrobatic Tommy Makinson effort in the right corner as Richie Myler tried to push him into touch. Coote added the touchline conversion for a well deserved 24-6 half time lead.

The Rhinos took four minutes of the second half to get their second when Luke Briscoe took a Brilliant Konrad Hurrell pass to push the Saints defence over the line and ground. Sutcliffe was unable to add the extras from wide but the Rhinos had the start to the second half that Richard Agar demanded.

Tempers flared on fifty-eight after Adam Cuthbertson handed out some justice for a perceived unpunished high tackle from Dominic Peyroux.

The Rhinos put in an excellent second half performance but defences were bossing.

James Donaldson was sin-binned for deliberate offside with just over five minutes remaining and two tackles later McCarthy-Scarsbrook pushed his way over for his second try to put Saints 28-10 ahead. Coote added the conversion for a twenty point lead.

Bentley got Saints sixth try of the night with two minutes remaining on the clock with a scoot from acting half-back and a lunge for the line to ground. Coote was again accurate with the boot for 36-10, the bookies proved right as Saints took the points.

There was no denying the Rhinos effort but they simply don’t have the skill to score enough points against quality opposition as they head closer to the relegation position as the sides around them make league progress. Saints cruised the first half, eased off in the early part of the second and then sprinted over the line when the Rhinos were reduced to ten men. There really does seem no likelihood that Saints will be denied the minor premiership.

Saints: Coote (T, 6G), Grace, Percival, Naiqama (T), Makinson (T), Lomax, Fages, Walmsley, Smith, Thompson, Peyroux, Taia, McCarthy-Scarsbrook (2T).  Subs: Lees, Ashworth, Amor, Bentley (T).

Rhinos: Walker, Briscoe T, Newman, Hurrell, Briscoe L (T), Sutcliffe (G), Myler, Seumanufagai, Dwyer (T), Singleton, Watkins, Ferres, Merrin.  Subs: Parcell, Donaldson (SB on 74), Oledzki, Cuthbertson.

Referee: Ben Thaler.

Half-Time: 24-6.

Full-Time: 36-10.

Attendance: .



Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 21st Jun 2019 9:41 PM | Views : 2851 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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