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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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St Helens 42 Leeds Rhinos 16

3rd June 2011

By Leeds Rhinos

A bitterly disappointing second half for the Rhinos at the Stobart Stadium saw them lose out to St Helens in Widnes.

Leeds Rhinos faced their first away game for other a month as they travelled to face St Helens at Widnes and the chance to put last weekend's defeat to Warrington behind them.

WP – Home MPU

Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow started as the half back combination whilst Brent Webb's return allowed Lee Smith to revert to left centre. Those two changes meant that Carl Ablett and Kevin Sinfield could move back to their more accustomed roles in the pack and the Rhinos team was beginning to look more like its old self.

The opening quarter of the game was a tough, physical affair with both teams producing some big hits on defence. Eventually the Rhinos took an early lead when Kevin Sinfield kicked a penalty after six minutes after Jon Wilkin was penalised for holding Carl Ablett down in the tackle.

Saints enjoyed the lions share of possession after that and it took some tremendous last ditch defence to keep them out. Chief amongst the Rhinos rear guard was Brent Webb, who seemed to be everywhere that Saints looked to attack. The best of his efforts came when he raced back to tap tackle James Roby when the hooker had broken down the blind side and appeared certain to score.

Both teams were correctly denied tries by the video referee Steve Ganson. Lee Smith was first to lose control of the ball as he attempted to ground it and then Michael Shenton could only bounce a grubber kick as he tried to get downward pressure on it.

Sinfield edged the Rhinos further in front with his second penalty of game but the visitors were putting themselves under too much pressure with unforced errors close to their own line. Despite some brilliant goal line defence, eventually the dam was broken when James Graham powered his way over after 29 minutes. Foster added the conversion to make it 6-4.

The home side suffered a blow when Andrew Dixon had to be helped from the field shortly after coming on and the big hits continued to come in for the remainder of the first half. As soon as half chances appeared to have opened up, they were immediately shut off by the opposition to leave the score poised at 6-4 at the break.

The first try after the break was always going to be crucial and it was Saints who got it, albeit with a large slice of good fortune. Webb appeared to have done well to get out from his in goal under pressure but then lost control of the ball. Replays seemed to clearly show that the ball had gone backwards but referee Phil Bentham ordered the Rhinos to drop out. From the ensuing set, Jonny Lomax broke through before producing a great offload to James Roby, to put the hooker over for his side's second try. Foster added the conversion to make it 12-4 after 46 minutes.

Saints then took control of the game with a period of play that blew the game apart with four tries in eleven minutes, The first came from Francis Meli when he jumped up to catch Sinfield's attempted chip over the top and went 45 metres to score. The next one was a well deserved score for Jonny Lomax after he took an offload close to the line to score.

The home side kept up the momentum when Scott Moore crossed just after the hour mark and then Paul Wellens wrapped up the points as he finished out wide. Foster was on target with each conversion attempt to make the score 36-4 to the home side.

Although the result was beyond them, the Rhinos did not let their heads drop and they came back with two tries of their own. The first came from Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who went over from close range and then two minutes later Webb released Smith to score outwide. Sinfield converted both to make it 36-16 with eight minutes remaining.

There was still time for Saints to rub salt into the wound when, with the final play of the game Lee Gaskell intercepted Sinfield's long pass wide to go in untouched between the posts. Foster added the conversion to make the final score 42-16 to the hosts.

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