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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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St Helens 26 Leeds Rhinos 18

20th March 2009

By Leeds Rhinos

The Rhinos lost out to St Helens at Knowsley Road in a repeat of the previous years Grand FInal.

Matt Gidley and Keith Senior both crossed twice for their respective sides however this game will be remembered for the bad tempered second half.
 
The ill tempered element was sparked by a flurry of punches by Saints centre Lee Gilmour on Lee Smith but remarkably it was the Leeds full back who was penalised by referee Phil Bentham and neither player was sent to the sin bin to calm tempers. Unfortunately that then set the tone for the rest of the half. 

WP – Home MPU

St Helens looked nervous in the early encounters, knocking on twice as they came away from their own line. The Rhinos then enjoyed the lions share of possession in the opening seven minutes but were unable to find a way through.
Having failed to take advantage, the Rhinos were then made to pay when an error by Brent Webb forced the Rhinos to drop out. 

Paul Clough went close but was stopped by Senior and Ryan Hall however Diskin was then called back for a forward pass in the clearing set. From the ensuing scrum, Saints eventually created an overlap through Sean Long and Leon Pryce and Matt Gidley scored. Long added the conversion to make it 6-0 after 13 minutes.
Six minutes later the Rhinos lost scrum half Rob Burrow after he took a bang to the head and had to be helped from the field. 

However, the Champions continued to try and find a way through the Saints defence and they got their reward after 25 minutes. An offload 15 metres out from Sinfield set Danny McGuire away and he worked a clever move with Carl Ablett to create an overlap and send Senior crashing over in the corner. Sinfield added an excellent conversion to make it 6-6. 

With seven minutes to go before half time, St Helens took the lead again. Leeds had put themselves under pressure by getting caught on half way on the last tackle and the home side kept the ball alive on the last tackle to open up the Rhinos. Long passed to Flannery, who stepped around the attempted tackle by Danny Allan before breaking clear and passing to 
James Roby to score. Long adding the conversion to make it 12-6. 

It got better for the home side when Pryce broke free of an attempted tackle by Sinfield and Ablett ten metres out to go over and score two minutes later. Once again Long was on target to make it 18-6 at half time. 

Much of the build up to the game had been about the supposed animosity between the two sets of players and that spilled over shortly into the second half when Gilmour set about Smith. Referee Phil Bentham penalised Smith however his team mates soon sprung to his defence with a thundering tackle with his shoulder by Ryan Bailey on Maurie Fa’asavalu resulted in the Samoan having to leave the field. 

The home side were seemly upset by the decision not to award them another penalty and they came tearing into the Rhinos in the next set, giving away two penalties and allowing the Rhinos to march upfield. When they did get possession back they knocked on 20 metres from their own line and soon the Rhinos had crossed for their second try. Good hands by McGuire and Webb released Hall to score in the corner. Sinfield added the conversion to make it 18-12 after 52 minutes. 

The Rhinos were boosted just before the hour mark when Burrow returned to the action however they suffered a blow with 15 minutes to go when Flannery and Paul Wellens combined to set up Gary Wheeler for a try in the corner after Pryce had made the initial break in midfield. The young winger then took over kicking duties with Long off the pitch but was unable to add the extras. 

However, Saints did get the telling score with ten minutes to go when Flannery managed to get out of Burrow’s tackle before passing to Gidley to score his second try. He attempted to add the conversion but was also off target.
There was a late consolation try for the Rhinos in the last minute when Keith Senior powered his way over down the left hand side. Sinfield added the conversion with the last kick of the game to leave the final score 26-18.

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