Highlights: Academy record battling win over Leeds!

Saints Academy battled past Leeds Rhinos on Saturday after a 42-24 victory at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

The first 15 minutes of the game saw both sides come close. Dayon Sambou couldn’t maintain possession just in front of the line, before Leeds had their chance to take the lead, but after some nice play down the left, the play was called back for a forward pass.

But on the 17 minute mark the Rhinos did make their next chance count when Will Gatus went over in the left corner after the ball was played nicely out-wide. Riley Lumb converted the try, 0-6.

But it only took the Saints four minutes to reply when Noah Stephens entered the field and forced a knock on half way. After working their way up to the Leeds line, on the last tackle Ciaran Nolan gave a flat ball to Eliot Peposhi who barged over to score. Archer converted the score from next to the posts, leveling the score, 6-6.

25 minutes in the Saints were in again after a great defensive set caused the Rhinos to kick from inside there own in goal, and saw Saints start the set 20 metres out from the Leeds line. The ball was played to the left where Keane Gilford dived brilliantly into the corner to score. Archer missed from outside, 10-6.

Eight minutes before the break Saints extended their lead after a penalty for interference allowed them to set up 20 out from the Rhinos line. Ben Lane got the ball out the back on the right, finding Vaughan who delivered a great ball to Haynes who leaped into the corner to score. Archer’s kick narrowly missed, sending the side 14-6 ahead at half-time.

Leeds came out after the break and immediately got one back two minutes into the half after Lane couldn’t keep hold of possession from a kick on the last. Jack Smith picked the ball up from dummy half and crashed over just to the right of the posts. Lumb converted, 14-12.

The Rhinos were straight in again two minutes later. They attacked down the left where Alfie Edgell was supporting in the middle and received the ball back on the inside to score under the posts from halfway. Lumb converted and put Leeds ahead, 14-18.

48 minutes into the game and the Saints were back ahead. After a penalty on half way for a tip tackle, we started the set 30 out from the Leeds line and after some solid drives towards the line, the ball was played left to Gilford who muscles off the winger to score in the left corner. Will Roberts took over kicking duties, and converted from the sideline to put the side ahead again, 20-18.

Nine minutes later the Saints were in again after a quick play the ball from Kal Devine ten out from the Leeds line saw Nolan scoop up the ball and dart through a gap to score to the left of the posts. Roberts converted, 26-18.

On the 62nd minute mark Gilford was in for his hat-trick try after a brilliant cut out ball from Lane saw him dive over in the corner. Roberts just missed the kick, 30-18.

As the game approached the final 10 minutes, Nolan found himself on the short side right on the Leeds line and dummied the ball to score in the left corner just as he re-entered the game. Roberts converted from the left, 36-18.

In the 75th minute, the Rhinos got themselves one back when Ben Littlewood charged onto the ball to break the line and score from ten metres out. Lumb converted to reduce the lead, 36-24.

But with two minutes to go a barnstorming run from Stephens saw him carry two defenders with him and score under the posts, getting a well deserved try to end the scoring. Roberts converted to make the score 42-24, and saw the Saints take out a vital win in the hunt for top four!

Match Summary

Saints team: Ben Lane, Sam Haynes, Jonathon Vaughan, Dayon Sambou, Keane Gilford, Ellis Archer, Will Roberts, George Delaney, Ciaran Nolan, Kal Devine, McKenzie Buckley, Nathan Bannerman, Eliot Peposhi.

Bench: Noah Stephens, Alfie Sinclair, Brett Bailey, Harvey Braddish.

Tries: Keane Gilford (3), Ciaran Nolan (2), Sam Haynes, Noah Stephens, Eliot Peposhi.

Goals: Ellis Archer (1 from 3), Will Roberts (4 from 5).

Leeds team: Riley Lumb, Neil Tchmambe, Jack Smith, Max Simpson, Will Gatus, Alfie Edgell, Jack Sinfield, Jake Higgins, Dylan Proud, Ashton Robinson, Billy Davies, Toby Warren, Ben Littlewood.

Bench: Kyden Frater, Harrison Gilmore, Jack Johnson, Blake Morgan.

Tries: Jack Smith, Will Gatus, Alfie Edgell, Ben Littlewood.

Goals: Riley Lumb (4 from 4).

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