Proud Saints Bow Out

A HEARTBREAKING late drop goal ended Saints playoff challenge at Leeds.

They gave everything and were in with whisker of progressing to the next round when Willie Manu levelled it up with three minutes to go.

But a tricky conversion was crucially missed and Danny McGuire stepped up and dropped a one-pointer.

It was devastating for a Saints outfit that did themselves and their fans proud with a superb performance.

A Kallum Watkins effort was all that separated the sides in a tight and brutal first half.

Saints defended their lines with aplomb at times but the international centre writhed out of a tackle to plunge over.

Nathan Brown’s side had their chances yet were found looking for that final pass at times.

Joel Moon extended the advantage early in the second half but Jon Wilkin slipped Willie Manu in to make it game on.

And that same combination pulled Saints level with seven minutes to go.

A pulsating game was always heading to a classic ending though and it was McGuire who unfortunately slotted over to end Saints’ dreams.

Saints retained the same 17 that beat Hull KR whilst Leeds opted to move Ryan Bailey on to the bench.

Both sides kicked well on their opening sets but Leeds were given a fortuitous penalty right in prime territory.

Adam Swift defended it and then Saints’ defence was spot on as the Rhinos threatened again.

Lance Hohaia’s chip caused problems in the tenth minute and then the home side piled on the pressure – with Saints defending their lines again.

Saints then turned that rearguard into attack and Tommy Makinson almost brought a score when he broke following Jordan Turner’s pass.

Lomax then took it up but Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook was held up just over the line.

Something had to give and it came off a Saints’ drop out.

Leeds drove to the 20 metre mark, fed the ball to the right and Kallum Watkins twisted and put his body into the best position possible to go over – with a hint of a knock on.

Sinfield missing the conversion.

Leeds thought they’d stretched their advantage on 37 minutes when they collected Tommy Makinson’s forced pass.

They returned it with interest and Danny McGuire looked to have stretched over. But the video referee denied the score as he lost the ball over the line.

It was controversial, but it was correct.

Saints began the second half on the back foot and had to drop out after a cute kick.

It was a warning as on Leeds’ next set a simple chip through was collected by Joel Moon.

Sinfield with the extras.

Saints then hit back.

After two shouts at Leeds’ line a wonderful pass from Jon Wilkin caught Willie Manu on a great line and he made no mistake.

Turner with the extras.

Jonny Lomax sparked a superb attack on 55 minutes and then Saints won a penalty too.

And they should have made it count, but Leeds snaffled up a loose pass.

It was turning out to be a real war of attrition and it was always going to be the team that made the best of their kicking game who would come out on top.

Saints forced Leeds to drop out with 15 to go, but lost the ball on their set as tensions obviously heightened.

But cometh the hour, cometh the Manu… Saints won a penalty and then Wilkin hit that man again and he levelled.

With five minutes to go TP was held up over the line and Wilkin’s drop goal seconds later was a poor effort.

Danny McGuire then added a drop goal with three minutes to go and that was a real heartbreaker for a side that didn’t deserve to lose.

Match Summary:

Tries: Watkins, Moon
Goals: Sinfield (1 from 2)
Drop: McGuire

Tries: Manu (2),
Goals: Turner (1 from 2)

Rhinos: 4
Saints: 5

HT: 0-4
FT: 10-11

REF: Phil Bentham




1. Zak Hardaker; 2. Ben Jones-Bishop, 3. Kallum Watkins, 4. Joel Moon, 5. Ryan Hall; 13. Kevin Sinfield, 6. Danny McGuire; 8. Kylie Leuluai, 7. Rob Burrow, 10. Jamie Peacock, 11. Jamie Jones-Buchanan, 12. Carl Ablett, 15. Brett Delaney.
Subs: 16. Ryan Bailey, 17. Ian Kirke, 19. Mitch Achurch, 26. Liam Sutcliffe.


7. Jonny Lomax; 21. Tommy Makinson, 3. Jordan Turner, 5. Francis Meli, 26. Adam Swift; 12. Jon Wilkin, 6. Lance Hohaia; 11. Tony Puletua, 9. James Roby, 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 4. Sia Soliola, 13. Willie Manu, 19. Josh Jones.
Subs: 1. Paul Wellens, 14. Anthony Laffranchi, 16. Paul Clough, 25. Alex Walmsley.

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