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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Leeds Rhinos 33 St Helens 36

13th October 2007

By Leeds Rhinos

Leeds Rhinos claimed only the fifth Championship in the club’s history with an emphatic 33-6 win over St Helens at Old Trafford.

Leeds held St Helens pointless in the second half to wrestle the title off Daniel Anderson's side and scored tries through Ali Lauitiiti, Scott Donald, Lee Smith and Jamie Jones-Buchanan to add to a try from Brent Webb in the first half.

WP – Home MPU

Fittingly, scrum half Rob Burrow picked up the Harry Sunderland Award as man of the match on the day when another legendary Leeds half back, Jeff Stevenson passed away.

The Rhinos won the toss and kicked off towards the Stretford End with the army of Leeds fans roaring their team on at their backs.

Leeds produced a strong opening defensive set but could have found themselves 2-0 after 3 minutes when Matt Diskin was penalised for blocking Long after he had chipped ahead. Long had no hesitation in opting to kick for goal from 20 metres out but incredibly pushed his attempt wide.

However, from the drop out, Saints caused Leeds problems on the last tackle with a high kick by Francis Meli. Webb was unable to take the ball but Smith cleaned up only to be pushed in to touch.

Leeds had to produce another great defensive set and did so to wrap up Jon Wilkin on the last tackle.  After that early spell of pressure, Leeds finally found their feet and after a prolonged period inside the Saints half, the Rhinos were awarded a penalty when Nick Fozzard pulled the ball out of Ellis' grasp. Sinfield elected to kick for the posts and became the first Leeds player ever to play and score in every game in a season to make it 2-0 after 14 minutes.

It got even better for Leeds four minutes later when Brent Webb crossed for the first try of the game. McGuire fed Sinfield who flipped a pass to the on running full back. He drew the cover and passed to Senior who released Donald. The winger cut in and spotted the run of Webb, who showed great intelligence to keep alive in the move, and he stepped round Paul Wellens to score in the corner. Sinfield added a brilliant touchline conversions to make it 8-0 to Leeds.

Despite establishing that lead there was little to choose between the sides and Saints replied after 26 minutes. Long created the try, bursting through the attempted tackle of Jamie Jones-Buchanan before passing back inside to Lee Gilmour. Although he was tackled his passed basketball-style to the supporting James Roby and the Man of Steel just evaded the tackle of Lee Smith to score. Long added the conversion to make it 8-6.

The game ebbed and flowed after that; Leeds had a great chance when McGuire chipped over the defence before regathering his own kick and kicking to the corner for Donald to chase. He was a matter of inches from scoring but the touchline just beat him and the ball. Leeds then had to defend for their lives as Saints forced an error on the Rhinos own goal line. Leeds had to drop out but Donald defused a bomb brilliantly to halt the danger.

Two minutes later, Ali Lauitiiti produced a monster hit to regain possession for Leeds in the opposition half and a clever kick from Sinfield earned the Rhinos a drop out this time. However, despite some good work by the Leeds attack their were unable to find their way through and had to settle for a two point lead at the break.

Saints clearly came out fired up at the start of the second half and out the Rhinos under intense pressure in the first five minutes of the half. The kicking of Long was constantly pushing Leeds back and making them start sets deep in their own territory.

Leeds were fighting a rear guard action and they needed something special and it came from Ali Lauitiiti. Once again it was the Rhinos defence that created the chance forcing an error deep in Saints half. Lee Smith arced across the field before finding Lauitiiti, he spotted a gap and powered passed Gidley to score.

Leeds fans were in dream land two minutes later when quick hands from Webb and Senior, released Scott Donald down the touchline. With just Wellens to beat, the Australian had Webb in support but pinned his ears back and headed for the corner to score. Sinfield, who had missed the last conversion, coolly slotted over this effort to make it 18-6 to the Rhinos after 52 minutes.

There was still a long way to go in the game and Rob Burrow showed great presence of mind to keep the pressure on Saints two minutes later when he kicked a drop goal to take his side three scores clear.

Leeds were doing brilliantly to wind down the clock and producing some brilliant defence to repel Saints at every turn, then with ten minutes to go they struck a killer blow.

Danny McGuire put in a hanging kick to the corner and Lee Smith out jumped Francis Meli to collect and scamper over for a score. Sinfield added the conversion to make it 25-6 to Leeds.

Party time could really begin for the Rhinos fans with eight minutes to go as Kevin Sinfield kicked a penalty from 35 metres out after Leon Pryce was penalised for a high shot on Jamie Jones-Buchanan.

There was still time for late drama though. With the clock showing zero seconds, Jamie Jones-Buchanan burrowed his way over from close range and after a short delay to check with the video ref, the score was given. Sinfield added the conversion to make the final score 33-6 and signal the start of the party.
 

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