Super League: St Helens end run of defeats with 30-22 victory over Leeds Rhinos
Last Updated: 20/05/13 9:50pm
St Helens staged a remarkable fightback to secure an unlikely 30-22 victory over Leeds Rhinos at Headingley, ending a run of five straight defeats in the process.
The visitors had not lost six on the spin since the 1985-86 season, but they looked on course to match that unwanted record after a sloppy start which saw them concede three unanswered tries in the first 25 minutes.
Saints were the architects of their own downfall as they produced a string of errors and one such, a Luke Thomspon knock-on, set up the opening try. Quick hands from first Danny McGuire and then Zak Hardaker put in Kallum Watkins who expertly touched down for his 50th Rhinos try - although Kevin Sinfield surprisingly missed the conversion.
Leeds' second arrived on ten minutes and again Saints were culpable having been caught offside to gift the hosts dangerous field position. It was to cost them as the ball was spun from right to left into the hands of Joel Moon who easily stepped inside Nathan Ashe before stretching out to score. Sinfield added the extras.
Yet more indiscipline from Saints, this time back-to-back infringements by first Tony Puletua and then Jon Wilkin, handed Leeds the chance to extend the lead on 21 minutes and they duly accepted, Rob Burrow ducking in between defenders from close range to touch down next to the posts. Sinfield converted again for a 16-0 lead.
Having been completely outplayed and looking disorganised and bereft of ideas, it came as real surprise that Saints roused themselves with two quick tries to get back into the contest.
They belatedly got on the board with their first attack of any real note. After a high-kick from Wilkin had initially caused confusion, it was Stuart Howarth who cleverly sent Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook over under the posts following a dummy which wrong-footed the Leeds defence - Tommy Makinson converted.
They were back to within just four points on 32 minutes with a similar score; a quick offload from Wilkin sent Sia Soliola clear and the New Zealand international crashed over under the posts, Makinson again adding a simple conversion to make the half-time score 16-12.
Saints carried that momentum into the second half and were level within four minutes of the restart. A fabulous offload from Willie Manu released Mark Percival and the youngster waited before passing to Makinson who showed a fine turn of speed to race over.
He could not add the extras to move his side ahead, but they did hit the front minutes later when a suicidal error from Hardaker inside his own in-goal area was pounced upon by Anthony Laffranchi who touched down for the simplest of tries. Makinson's conversion made the scoreline 22-16.
Hardaker then came up with another mistake, this time failing to collect a stab forward from the boot of Paul Wellens, which allowed Makinson to drop down on the ball and claim his second try.
Leeds looked totally shell-shocked, but were roused on the hour mark after a fine carry from Jamie Jones-Buchanan which helped to lift the crowd. A couple of plays later Ryan Bailey bulldozed over from close range for a try which Sinfield converted to reduce the deficit to four.
That set up a grandstand finish, but it was Saints who killed the game seven minutes from time, Thompson bursting through and finishing superbly under pressure to ensure the visitors would end their miserable run of defeats.
First Utility Super League
Tue 30th Jun
Hull K R34 - 28Salford Red Devils
Wed 1st Jul
Wakefield Wildcats26 - 16Hull FC
Thu 2nd Jul
Warrington WolvesvsWigan Warriors
Fri 3rd Jul
Leeds RhinosvsSt Helens
Sun 5th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Hull K R
Hull FC0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Thu 9th Jul
Wigan WarriorsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 10th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Sun 12th Jul
Hull FC0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Hull K R
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 16th Jul
Warrington WolvesvsSt Helens
Fri 17th Jul
Hull K RvsHull FC
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 18th Jul
Catalans DragonsvsHuddersfield Giants
Sun 19th Jul
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Jul
Hull FCvsWigan Warriors
Fri 24th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Hull K R
Sun 26th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Super League 2013 Round 15
St Helens coach Nathan Brown has urged his side to build on their 30-22 comeback win over Leeds.
Hull KR produced a dominant second-half display to beat Wakefield 44-18 and end a three-match losing run in style.
Brian McDermott believes there is enough depth in his Leeds squad to cover the loss of Jamie Peacock and Carl Ablett.
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