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With St Helens already crowned as minor premiers, and with the Challenge Cup final and Grand Final play-offs just around the corner, they could be forgiven for easing off the gas. The Rhinos hoped that they could continue a two game winning run, which has lifted them out of the immediate danger of relegation.

Another win would see the Rhinos within a couple of points of safety and they also went into the game needing an eighteen points winning margin to get back to a positive points difference, worth an extra point in the bottom of the table shakedown.

The only change for the Rhinos was on the bench with Nathan Peteru brought in to replace the suspended Brad Singleton who was sent off against the Catalans Dragons last weekend and received a two game ban. Saints have Morgan Knowles back but are without Alex Walmsley, Lachlan Coote and James Roby.

After an end to end opening fourteen minutes, the Rhinos almost benefitted from a scrum after a Saints knock-on. Konrad Hurrell made the space attracting the defenders before offloading to Ash Handley but the free-scoring winger lost the ball in the act of scoring.

On nineteen minutes Regan Grace weaved his way through the Rhinos defence on the last tackle after Jack Welsby picked up a loose ball and offloaded to Mark Percival who flicked the pass on to the winger. Percival added the extras from close to the touchline for a 6-0 lead.

James Bentley knocked on for Saints as he tried to regain his footing and on the last tackle some fancy footwork from Richie Myler saw him jink his way to the line from ten metres out to stretch and score.Rhyse Martin added the conversion from by the uprights to level the scores with eleven minutes to to th interval.

The Rhinos had another Handley try ruled out on thirty-one after referee Kendall ruled that the final pass from Hurrell was forward.

It was third time lucky for Handley, again with Hurrell as the provider, as he drew the tackler and released his winger for a ten metre run to score under the tackle. Martin pushed his conversion attempt across the face of the sticks, the Rhinos taking a deserved 10-6 lead.

Saints stuck straight back through Kevin Naiqama whop took the pass fifteen metres from the line through a stretched Leeds defence to crash over the line with three tacklers attached but ground the ball to the satisfaction of the referee. Percival hit the near upright with his conversion attempt, the ball bouncing away from the sticks.

A great first half of high speed, end to end, action ended 10-10.

A Rhinos defensive mess under a Theo Fages high kick, three minutes after the restart, allowed Zeb Taia to ground the loose ball. Percival added the conversion for a six point Saints lead.

Straight after the restart a miraculous Grace offload put Taia free to score his second in as many minutes. The Rhinos had been hit with a Saints double-whammy and when Percival added the extras it was 22-10 to the visitors.

Interference at the play the ball from the Rhinos gifted Percival a two-pointer to stretch the lead to fourteen points, the minor premiers starting to dominate the game with the Rhinos unable to gain either position or possession.

On the hour mark Naiqama ghosted his way through a disinterested Leeds defence to get his second of the night. Percival added the goal to ensure that the two points were going away from Headingley and over to St Helens.

Three minutes later Naiqama completed his hat-trick as the Rhinos defence escorted him to the line flapping in the wind as the Saints centre ripped them apart. Percival was again accurate with the boot for 36-10.

Hurrell was again the provider for Handley to get his twenty-first try of the season as the Rhinos exploited an overlap wide left. Martin was unable to add the conversion from wide, taking it quickly to get the restart with just eight minutes left on the clock.

Onn seventy-four Luke Briscoe offloaded just as he was about to be dragged into touch, into the path of Harry Newman who collected and grounded. Martin this time added the extras for 20-36 with five minutes remaining.

After an evenly matched first half the Saints blew the Rhinos away with twenty-six unanswered points to establish an impressive lead. Leeds grabbed a couple of late consolation tries but the outcome was never in danger. Saints go into next weeks Challenge Cup final with a massive confidence boost, the Rhinos with a week off before the serious business of trying to survive in the top flight.

Rhinos: Walker, Briscoe L, Newman (T), Hurrell, Handley (2T), Lui, Myler (T), Cuthbertson, Lunt, Seumanufagai, Ferres, Martin (2G), Merrin.  Subs: Dwyer, Donaldson, Sutcliffe, Peteru.

Saints: Welsby, Grace (T), Percival (6G), Naiqama (3T), Costello, Fages, Lomax, Thompson, Smith, Lees, Taia (2T), Peyroux, Bentley.  Subs: Amor, Ashworth, Batchelor, Eaves.

Referee: Chris Kendall.

Half-Time: 10-10.

Full-Time: 20-36.

Attendance: .

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 15th Aug 2019 9:39 PM | Views : 2542 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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