Saints Come Away With Points In Frantic Match

Saints came away with a thrilling 27-22 win over the Rhinos in an action-packed match that saw the momentum swing between both teams throughout the 80 minutes.

The game started in an awkward fashion for Saints, with Kevin Naiqama having to leave the field for the rest of the game, after an eye injury in the second minute, which later turned out to be a concussion caused by a stray hand of another Saints player.

He was replaced in the centres by Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.

It didn’t stop Saints scoring the opening try of the match through Theo Fages, who pounced on a knock-on right on the Leeds line by Konrad Hurrell.

It was soon 10-0, as Jonny Lomax scored after a searing break up the middle of the Leeds defence by Regan Grace, that resulted in Mark Percival being able to offload for Lomax to finish. Percival converted the try.

Leeds hit straight-back after Percival dropped the ball from the re-start. Kallum Watkins easing-in in the corner to make it 10-6 after Lolohea added the extras.

In the 18th minute Lachlan Coote placed a sublime short kick over the top that almost resulted in a Saints try, but it was deemed to be a two-man ball steal.

Leeds then broke into a ferocious passage of play, that began with a break from Tom Briscoe on the right, that saw the Rhinos then flash the ball across the full width of the pitch for Hurrell to power his way over in the left corner.

Leeds then almost scored down the left of Saints defence on two back to back sets that both ended up with forward passes by the Rhinos when within touching distance of the whitewash.

After some scrappy play and a knock-on from Saints, Leeds then launched another attack down Saints’ left edge, this time Ash Handley was slotted into the corner by the dangerous Hurrell after a nice pass from Ferres. Lolohea missed the conversion but the Rhinos led 16-10.

It was soon 22 unanswered points by the visitors when in the 33rd minute the towering Oldezki barged his way past the Saints defence to put Leeds in control at half-time with a 22-10 lead.

The break came at a good time for Saints who re-grouped and started the second half in more aggressive fashion. Zeb Taia made a nice break up the middle which set up a smart pass from Lachlan Coote to Big Alex Walmsley who crashed over to get Saints back in the contest.

Percival added the extras to make it 22-16 to Leeds.

Six minutes later, the Totally Wicked crowd exploded as Big Al took the ball wide of the ruck to drive his way in for a second try with two Leeds defenders in tow. Percival missed the conversion and Leeds still held a slender 22-20 lead.

Saints had the chance to level things up in the 56th minute but Lachlan Coote slid his penalty goal from 30m, wide of the uprights.

The momentum had swung back in Saints favor on the back of some hard yards from the props in the middle of the field. It was another of the big men who came up with a magic piece of footwork to give Saints the lead. Luke Thompson jinked his way past a host of Leeds defenders to ignite the crowd again and give Saints the lead back.

Coote added the goal to give Saints a 26-22 lead with 15 minutes to go.

The scrappy nature of the game continued with handling errors from both teams, and Leeds almost took advantage when Lolohea tried to barge over only for the video referee to deny him the try.

Two minutes later, with the game still in the balance, Jonny Lomax was also denied try after a debatable video-ref decision resulted in an obstruction penalty.

It didn’t turn out to be costly as the game drew to a close, James Roby kicking a low one-pointer to make the score 27-22.

Leeds fought hard to come back, but Saints defence held strong on the final sets of the match, to keep the Rhinos scoreless in the second half and extend their winning start to three games in the Betfred Super League.

Match Summary:


Tries: Fages, Lomax, Walmsley (2), Thompson

Goals: Percival (2 from 3) Coote (1 from 2)

Drop Goals: Roby

Leeds Rhinos:

Tries: Watkins, Hurrell, Handley, Oledzki

Goals: Lolohea (3 from 4)

HT: 10-22
FT: 27 – 22

REF: Robert Hicks

Attendance: 11,318

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