Saints beat Rhinos in Golden Point

A 90th minute drop goal in Golden Point Extra Time secured the spoils for St Helens in a dramatic and fiery affair against Leeds Rhinos at Headingley.

The Rhinos took a seventh minute lead at Headingley. Rhyse Martin made a break down the left edge and had support either side, he found Ash Handley who dove over to score. Martin added the extras, 6-0 to the Rhinos.

Saints replied shortly after. A move from left to right saw Jonny Lomax find Jack Welsby and he threw a cut-out pass to Tommy Makinson on the wing, who finished well in the corner on his 300th appearance for the club. Makinson was unable to convert his own score, 6-4 Saints trailed.

The hosts then kicked the restart out on the full, which added the the Red V’s momentum. From the repeat set, the visitors forced a goal-line dropout, but another repeat set was cleared up by the Rhinos.

The video referee was called upon 22 minutes in. A high kick by Richie Myler was spilt by Welsby under pressure. Cameron Smith picked up the loose ball and dove over from close range. The decision was sent upstairs as a try, and the video referee agreed. Martin converted, 12-4 Saints trailed.

Saints went close to their second try with twelve minutes to go in the first half. Welsby ran across the line and put a kick in with Will Hopoate chasing the ball, but the Saints centre was unable to ground it giving the Rhinos a tap on the 20.

The hosts thought they had their third try as we approached the final few minutes. Sam Walters stretched out as Saints scrambled to tackle him. The referee sent it upstairs as a no try, and once again the referee agreed.

That was the final chance of the half, as Saints trailed the Rhinos 12-4 at the break in West Yorkshire.

The Red V got back into it five minutes into the second half. Lewis  Dodd found Curtis Sironen running a good line and he bumped off some tacklers to reach out and score. Makinson converted, 12-10 Saints trailed.

Another video referee review came for the Rhinos shortly after. Walters offloaded to Justin Sangare who dove over the line. Despite the referee’s on-field decision of try, the video referee disagreed. So it remained 12-10.

Both sides struggled to make the most of their best chances. First off the the Red V, on the first tackle, Welsby spilt the ball from a scrum well within the Leeds half. Following that, Sangare made a break for Leeds putting them in great field position but then fumbled the play the ball.

Saints then had a chance to level the scores with 12 minutes to go. A hit off the ball by Sangare gave Makinson the channce to kick two points in front of the sticks. He didn’t disappoint, 12-12 the scores were tied as we entered the final ten minutes.

The visitors had a great chance soon after. A high kick was claimed by Tee Ritson who looked for support on his inside and found Jake Wingfield, who tried to offload the ball on the last, but it found a Rhinos defender so the hosts survived.

Leeds enjoyed some sets camped on the Saints line following the restart. Saints attempted to grab the ball back but fumbled it twice allowing the hosts to apply more pressure. From the final scrum though a pass to their right edge from Walters ended up sailing into touch, as Saints’ defence held strong. James McDonnell was sent off following a brawl as a result of the loose pass.

As Saints moved downfield, Lewis Dodd went for a one-pointer but it was charged down. Saints got the ball back and Dodd tried his luck a second time but dragged it wide. Myler attempted one for the hosts, but he dragged his low and wide so we went to golden point extra time, following a 12-12 draw.

Makinson attempted a one-pointer from just inside the Leeds half with the first set, but the ball bounced dead in-goal which gave the hosts a seven-tackle set. Handley then attempted one for Leeds from a similar distance, but his also went low and wide. Dodd had another chance to kick a one-pointer, but once again dragged his kick wide of the sticks giving the Rhinos another seven-tackle set.

Sione Mata’utia was then sent to the sin bin for the visitors for a late shot to the knees. Martin then had a penalty from just inside the Saints half but his kick was too short and claimed by Welsby. That was the final play of the first five minutes of golden point extra time.

Dodd again had the first chance of a one-pointer in the second period, but once again dragged his drop-kick wide. Dodd wasn’t to be denied again though, as he nailed a one-pointer with 26 seconds left to win the game for the Red V!

Match Summary

Leeds Rhinos Team: Richie Myler, Ash Handley, Harry Newman, Nene Macdonald, Derrell Olpherts, Morgan Gannon, Aidan Sezer, Sam Walters, Jarrod O’Connor, Tom Holroyd, James McDonnell, Rhyse Martin, Cameron Smith.

Interchanges: Mikolaj Oledzki, James Donaldson, Corey Johnson, Justin Sangare.

18th Man: Liam Tindall.

Tries: Ash Handley (5), Cameron Smith (22)

Conversions: Rhyse Martin (2 from 2)

Penalties: Rhyse Martin (0 from 1)

Red Card: James McDonnell (77)

Saints Team: Jack Welsby, Tommy Makinson, Konrad Hurrell, Will Hopoate, Tee Ritson, Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Curtis Sironen, Joe Batchelor, James Bell.

Interchanges: Sione Mata’utia, Joey Lussick, Agnatius Paasi, Jake Wingfield.

18th Man: Jon Bennison.

Tries: Tommy Makinson (12), Curtis Sironen (45)

Conversions: Tommy Makinson (1 from 2)

Penalties: Tommy Makinson (1 from 1)

Sin Bin: Sione Mata’utia (84)

HT: 12-4

FT: 12-12

GPET: 13-12


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