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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Leeds Rhinos 14 St Helens 41

7th June 2002

By Leeds Rhinos

Leeds Rhinos’ five match winning run was brought to a crushing halt by a 41-14 defeat to St Helens, on a disappointing and frustrating night at Headingley. Peter Shiels and Chris Joynt helped Saints into a 12-0 lead before Francis Cummins, who had already had a try controversially ruled out, got the Rhinos on the scoreboard.

Anthony Stewart pushed Saints further ahead before Keith Senior had a score ruled out, and Saints responded with a try and drop goal from Paul Sculthorpe to open up a 23-6 half time lead.

WP – Home MPU

Sculthorpe extended that further with a penalty before Mark Calderwood touched down for Leeds.

 But Saints' dominance saw Mick Higham grab two tries in the final 11 minutes and Anthony Stewart complete his double, with Calderwood's second being no more than consolation for Leeds.

Both teams went into the game knowing that they would secure second place in the Super League table at the midway point of the regular season, but Saints made light of the absence of Keiron Cunningham, Sean Long and Paul Newlove with a dominant display.

 Tommy Martyn's 40/20 gave them the territorial advantage early on and they capitalised on that when the half back combined with powerhouse prop Darren Britt and versatile Paul Wellens, who sent Peter Shiels in under the posts, Sculthorpe converting.

 Leeds came back strongly, though, and Wellens had to palm a Ben Walker bomb dead after Stewart had allowed the ball to bounce.

Two minutes later, Francis Cummins was sent in at the corner, but the try was controversially ruled out when the touch judge ruled that Danny Ward had knocked on in John Stankevitch's tackle earlier in the set of six and unseen by referee Russell Smith.

 The Rhinos were rattled and, after Sculthorpe missed a penalty, Chris Joynt was allowed to cut inside Ryan Sheridan and romp 30 yards to the line, Sculthorpe this time adding the goal.

Cummins managed to get his name on the scoresheet on the quarter mark, when Diskin's tackle forced the knock on from Anthony Stewart and Sheridan and Walker combined to send the Leeds skipper in at the corner, the try being excellently converted.

 But, what Walker could do with the boot, Sculthorpe matched at the other end on 24 minutes after Saints pressure led to Joynt's long pass enabling Stewart to dive in at the corner.

 Games between the clubs are often high scoring, and this proved to be another end to end battle, with Keith Senior being denied by the video referee as he dived over, Wellens doing enough in the tackle to dislodge the ball from his grasp.

 And a crucial blow was struck on 35 minutes, when Sculthorpe was allowed to force his way over from dummy half, while a drop goal from Tommy Martyn extended the scoreline to 23-6 at the break.

 Martyn did not reappear for the second half with an ankle injury, and he was one of many players from both sides who picked up knocks in a tough encounter.

Senior slipped after being put through a gap by Adrian Vowles a minute after the restart when he had only Wellens to beat, while Cummins was unable to hold a Sinfield cross-field kick as the Rhinos looked for a way back.

Sculthorpe kicked the first points of the half after Sinfield's interference on Higham, but the Leeds stand off and Super League Player of the Month created a try for Calderwood on 63 minutes with his weighted grubber.

The in-form winger – who ended the game with twelve tries from his last ten matches – beat Stewart to win the race for the line and give Leeds hope of a comeback at 25-10.

 Those hopes lifted when Walker managed to force Darren Britt into a knock on over the line, although the Australian prop had already shrugged off two Leeds defenders.

 And the Rhinos' defensive lapses continued soon afterwards as Saints sealed the win through Higham – now bandaged following a cut head – as the young hooker shot away from dummy half and audaciously dummied Walker on his way to a 45 metre try.

 Calderwood was close from another kick before Mike Bennett broke clear following Darren Albert's offload to send Stewart in for his second try at the corner – an almost replica of the winger's last minute effort to steal a win for Saints at Knowsley Road back in April. 

 Daryl Powell's men kept trying, and Sinfield, Tonie Carroll and Cummins created a second of the night for Calderwood, but Saints had the last word in embarrassing style for Rhinos full back Walker.

The Australian, in the final minute, took a tackle and played the ball before a team-mate managed to get into dummy half, and Higham scooped up the ball to romp under the posts and complete the victory.

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