Hohaia Earns Vital Win

LANCE Hohaia’s late drop goal secured a dramatic 13-12 victory over 12-man Leeds at Headingley on Friday night.

Back for his first game since mid-July, he scooped over the vital one-pointer with five minutes to go after Saints had fought back from 12-2 down.

And he made the telling pass in Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook’s try that sparked the comeback.

It could have been all so different as for more than an hour Nathan Brown’s side were second best to a committed and fired up Rhinos.

Saints went into the sheds 12-2 down at half time – even though they had a man advantage after Joel Moon’s shocking shoulder charge on Mark Percival.

Tied two-apiece at that moment, they failed to deal with the opportunities it presented and gave away a number of penalties in key positions.

That saw Kevin Sinfield do what he does best with the boot and Liam Sutcliffe, in the side for the injured Danny McGuire, cutting through the defence.

Saints toiled in the second without ever really looking like scoring but did get back into the contest when big Londoner flew over.

James Roby then drew Saints level after Jordan Turner fired an excellent 40:20 – before Hohaia had the last and most dramatic laugh.

Down on key personnel, Saints made one change from the side that beat Wakefield last time out; Hohaia returning in place of the injured Gary Wheeler.

And they got into Leeds from the off forcing an early knock from Jamie Jones-Buchanan and then winning a penalty in front of the posts on the resultant set.

Mark Percival slotting it over with ease.

But a mistake moments later almost handed the advantage back to their hosts.

Matty Dawson and James Roby putting in an immense tackle to stop a score in the corner.

Bizarrely, the duo were penalised though and on the next set Sinfield slotted over a penalty.

Saints continued to turn Leeds around with a solid kicking game and it forced them to come away from their own 20 time after time.

The Rhinos were responding in kind – but Hohaia, Wellens and Turner were certainly more influential early on.

Then, on 24 minutes, Joel Moon was sent off for a shoulder charge on Mark Percival which had the youngster in trouble and being helped off the pitch.

It was not popular with the Leeds support but totally justified when you saw the replay.

And it had a big say on the match.

The Rhinos didn’t take the decision lying down and moments later Sinfield powered over a penalty to leave them 4-2 up after 27 minutes.

Another penalty then gave the Rhinos more field advantage and Sutcliffe danced through the defence.

Saints should have pulled back with three minutes remaining.

Tommy Makinson got away down the right and then Willie Manu danced to the line only for Jordan Turner to step in front of him at the crucial time… and just inches from the try line.

Sinfield making that indiscretion pay just before half time with yet another penalty.

It was clear Saints needed to cut out the indiscipline in the second half and tire their hosts out.

Nice kicks from Turner and Jones put Leeds on their heels, but they weren’t doing enough to put them in serious defensive trouble.

Shannon McDonnell almost broke the line in the 46th minute and then his kick had Leeds on the back foot.

Saints couldn’t find a cutting edge though and on 54 minutes Sinfield kicked a 40:20 to relieve the pressure for the home side.

A drop out for the visitors was also forthcoming but they held firm.

Saints gained a drop out of their own on the hour mark, and Lance Hohaia caught Louie for his third of the season.

And with ten minutes to go it was all square.

Turner made amends for his poor conversion attempt with a magnificent 40:20 and Roby did the rest, spotting a massive gap to go in to the left of the posts.

And then Lance Hohaia lumped over a drop goal from around 40 yards… just!

Saints survived some desperate moments in the final stages but held on for one of the most dramatic wins in their season.

Match Summary:

Tries: Sutcliffe
Goals: Sinfield (3 from 3)

Tries: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Roby
Goals: Percival (1 from 1), Turner (0 from 1), Makinson (1 from 1)
Drop: Hohaia

Leeds: 9
Saints: 6

HT: 2-12
FT: 13-12

REF: Richard Silverwood

ATT: 17,682


1. Zak Hardaker; 20. Tom Briscoe, 3. Kallum Watkins, 4. Joel Moon, 5. Ryan Hall; 13. Kevin Sinfield, 21. Liam Sutcliffe; 16. Ryan Bailey, 9. Paul Aiton, 10. Jamie Peacock, 11. Jamie Jones-Buchanan, 12. Carl Ablett, 15. Brett Delaney.
Subs: 8. Kylie Leuluai, 19. Mitch Achurch, 23. Brad Singleton, 29. Robbie Ward.

38. Shannon McDonnell; 2. Tommy Makinson, 4. Josh Jones, 22. Mark Percival, 26. Matty Dawson; 6. Lance Hohaia, 17. Paul Wellens; 16. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 18. Alex Walmsley, 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Anthony Laffranchi, 3. Jordan Turner.
Subs: 8. Mose Masoe, 11. Sia Soliola, 13. Willie Manu, 15. Mark Flanagan.

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