Leeds 18-22 St Helens

St Helens are on the road to Wembley again after a 22-18 victory over Leeds Rhinos at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.

Both sides had their moments in an even-handed start to the encounter.

The holders took complete control of the game in the second half, tries from Paul Wellens and Matt Gidley giving them an unassailable lead.

Leeds had the better of the opening exchanges, an early attack seeing the ball moved swiftly to the right, Scott Donald going short only because of a superb Lee Gilmour tackle.

Saints turned on the pressure, a penalty giving them the opportunity to switch the ball to the wing, Gidley’s superb pass sending Ade Gardner over at the corner.

The Rhinos hit back thanks to Jamie Jones-Buchanan, the forward touching down a Kevin Sinfield kick to the in-goal area, Sinfield’s conversion making the score 6-4.

A St Helens break exposed gaps in the Leeds defence, but the final pass from Gidley to Gardner was judged to be forward by referee Phil Bentham.

Instead James Roby dived over from dummy half just minutes later, Paul Wellens adding the two points for a 10-6 lead that the visitors took into the half-time interval.

The Rhinos started the second period with the upper hand, immediately forcing a goal-line drop out, but it was St Helens who got the first points thanks to a penalty goal from Wellens.

John Wilkin, who had a superb game at stand off, kicked a 40/20 – his second – to set Saints up for their first try of the second half, smart handling sending Wellens over the line.

Another try quickly followed, Kieron Cunningham combining with Roby for Gidley to get over the line, the score now 22-6 in St Helens’ favour.

Against the run of play, however, Leeds hit back: Keith Senior found enough space down the left wing to send Brent Webb over the line, Sinfield converting.

A last-minute try from Senior, Sinfield’s goal kick going in off the post, gave the Leeds contingent hope, but despite a frenetic final few moments Saints had done enough to win.

Leeds – 18

T: Jones-Buchanan (22); Webb (61); Senior (79)
G: Sinfield (22, 61, 79)

St Helens – 22

T: Gardner (14); Roby (28); Wellens (51); Gidley (56)
G: Wellens (28, 47, 65)

HT: 6-10

Ref: P Bentham

Att: 17,689

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