A late drop-goal from Danny Richardson was the only thing to separate St Helens and Leeds in an end-to-end thriller.
Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott made six changes to his side that lost to Huddersfield Giants last week. Harry Newman, Joel Moon, Anthony Mullally, Tom Holroyd, Brad Dwyer and Jack Ormondroyd replaced Jordan Lilley, Richie Myler, Brett Delaney, Mikolaj Oledzki, Stevie Ward and Ashton Golding.
Justin Holbrook made two changes to his St Helens outfit that beat Hull Kingston Rovers last time out. Jon Wilkin and Jonny Lomax came in for Kyle Amor and Matty Smith.
It was a very intense start at Emerald Headingley. Lomax thought he had scored for Saints early doors but it was ruled out by the video referee due to an obstruction from Ben Barba.
Leeds raced up the other end and posted the first points. Matt Parcell made a great break and assisted the supporting Tom Briscoe who scored. Liam Sutcliffe converted to put his side 6-0 up.
Saints struck back in the 23rdminute. As we have seen so many times this season, Barba produced some sublime footwork to go past four Leeds players and touch down. Danny Richardson added the conversion to level the score.
The visitors took the lead on the half hour mark. Mark Percival flew down the left edge and found Jonny Lomax on his inside who darted over. Richardson couldn’t add the conversion, but Saints were 10-6 ahead at the break.
Leeds came out firing in the second half as Briscoe latched onto a Cameron Smith grubber to make the score level.
St Helens scored from a brilliant passing move and went back in front. Richardson came back on the short side and Percival glided over. Richardson’s conversion put Saints 16-10 to the good after 50 minutes.
It was an immediate response from the Rhinos. Mitch Garbutt bulldozed his way over the line from close range. Sutcliffe converted, Leeds 16-16 St Helens.
Leeds took the lead on the hour. Saints’ markers were caught not square and Leeds opted to take the two. Sutcliffe added the penalty goal to edge his side into an 18-16 advantage.
Brett Ferres extended Leeds’ lead in the 71stminutes on the back of a cheeky grubber from himself.
Holbrook’s men proved why they are serious contenders for all three trophies this year as they came back to bite the Rhinos. Percival made a break and threw it wide to Ryan Morgan who reached over the line. Richardson nailed the conversion from the touchline and the score was tied at 22-22 with just six minutes left.
Richardson provided a wise head on young shoulders for Saints in the remaining two minutes. The England Knights half-back slotted a drop-goal from 30 metres out to snatch an emphatic 23-22 win for the Saints.
Leeds: Walker; Briscoe, Newman, Handley, Hall; Moon, Sutcliffe; Garbutt, Parcell, Mullally, Ferres, Walters, Cuthbertson. Subs: Holroyd, Smith, Dwyer, Ormondroyd.
St Helens: Barba; Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Grace; Lomax, Richardson; Douglas, Roby, Thompson, Taia, Peyroux, Wilkin. Subs: Fages, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Knowles, Lees.
Starman: Matt Parcell was fantastic for Leeds and caused St Helens plenty of problems. He was very unlucky to be on the losing side.