Richardson Drop Goal Sinks Rhinos

A Danny Richardson Drop Goal was enough on the night to save Saints recent unbeaten record in a 23-22 thriller at Emerald Headingley.

Saints would have the first opportunity of the game as Regan Grace went over in the corner for the league leaders, the decision would be referred upstairs to Phil Bentham who deemed there was an obstruction in build up play, the try chalked off and Leeds surviving.

Leeds would make the most of their opportunity as they went 90 metres downfield to score in the very next set, Parcell splitting Saints up the middle from dummy half before setting away Tom Briscoe to score the opening points of the game, Sutcliffe kicking the goal from dead in-front to make it 6-0.

Saints were starting to build the pressure up incrementally with every attack, their big break finally coming after 24 minutes, first Wilkin denied by Jack Walker quickly followed by a penalty for not clearing the ruck, from the refreshed set Ben Barba would skip back inside the Leeds defence on the angle to score, Richardson on hand to level the game with the boot.

St Helens seem to have settled into the rhythm of the game at this point and enjoying plenty of possession, Leeds' defence forced to dig deep and try to repel the bombardment of Red and White attacks.

The breakthrough finally came 8 minutes from halftime as Mark Percival bust a tackle, racing through the Rhinos defence and drawing fullback, Jack Walker, before releasing Jonny Lomax to score outwide for Saints, Richardson dragging his kick and the score now sitting at 10-6, and that's how it would remain going into the half.

Leeds would make a bright start to the second half, a penalty in the opening set would piggyback the Rhinos deep into Saints territory, Leeds opting to run the ball on the 5th before Cameron Smith slid a teasing kick into the in goal area for Tom Briscoe to dive on for his second try of the game, Liam Sutcliffe pulling his kick wide of the posts to leave the scores level after 41 minutes at 10-10.

Saints would once more come back at the Rhinos, throwingman after man at the Leeds line but the defence holding firm and Saints coming up with the error on the 5th to give Leeds a big let off.

Leeds would invite yet more pressure onto themselves after spilling the ball 25 metres out from their own line, Saints wouldn't need asking twice to punish the Rhinos as they worked the ball from right to left and put Mark Percival through the hole to recapture the lead, Richardson on target with the kick as St Helens claimed at 16-10 lead.

Leeds were determined to take the game to Saints as they went for a short kick off, Hall claiming the high kick and setting Leeds off in search of points, Brad Dwyer then flying out of dummy half before being pulled down just inches from the line, a short ball at the line to Mitch Garbutt would see the prop power over to register points on his return from injury, Sutcliffe kicking to level the scores at 16 a piece with 55 minutes gone.

Leeds would be given an opportunity to take the lead with 22 minutes left to play, Matty Lees catching Handley high and giving the Rhinos a shot at the sticks, Sutcliffe missing but Leeds getting the ball back from a drop out. 5 minutes later Sutcliffe would be given another chance after Parcell caught Saints offside, Sutcliffe converting this time, 18-16 Leeds.
With 10 minutes left to play it looked like Anthony Mullally had pushed Leeds further ahead on the scoreboard, forcing his way over from close range, Ben Thaler called held up and the chance for points went begging.

Leeds looked like they may have put the game to bed with 8 minutes left to play, Ferres kicking through for Ash Handley before getting the return ball, Ferres backing himself to the line to score, Sutcliffe unable to kick the extras to set the game up for a tense finish at 22-16.

Saints going short from the kick off and winning the ball back through Lomax, Saints then grinding their way downfield to set up 5 metres out from the Leeds line, Ryan Morgan then forcing his way in to score with 5 minutes left to play, Richardson keeping his cool to level the scores from the touchline at 22-22.

With less than a minute left to play Richardson would be the man to make the difference, kicking the 1 pointer to push Saints back out into the lead and ultimately winning the game for the league leaders as they claimed a 23-22 win over the Rhinos.


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