22 Feb 2019

Saints shut-out Rhinos in second-half

St Helens 27-22 Leeds Rhinos

England prop forwards Alex Walmsley and Luke Thompson powered St Helens to a third-straight win at the start of the Betfred Super League season as they claimed a 27-22 comeback victory at home to Leeds Rhinos.

Leeds looked to have turned the game on its head with a spell of 20 unanswered points to lead 22-10 at half-time but Saints’ front-row pair demonstrated exceptional brute force to score three tries between them to pave the way for the win.

.@Saints1890 keep the Rhinos out in the second half to overcome a 12-point deficit 💪#SLStHLee #NewBeginnings pic.twitter.com/w4WHBTry6H
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) February 22, 2019

In a gripping finish to a thoroughly-entertaining match, Leeds had a try from Tui Lolohea disallowed seven minutes from the end as Saints hung on to maintain their 100 per cent record.

Saints suffered a major blow within two minutes when star centre Kevin Naiqama went off with a head injury but they celebrated tries from Theo Fages and Jonny Lomax.

.@Luketommo1 tonight 🔥🔥🔥 Capped off with the winning try, this guy is special #SLStHLee #NewBeginnings pic.twitter.com/nG6lIHaywy
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) February 22, 2019

Mark Percival added two conversions and Lachlan Coote one following those efforts from Walmsley and Thompson, while James Roby scored a last-minute drop-goal.

In reply, captain Kallum Watkins crossed over for a 12th-minute try before Konrad Hurrell, Ash Handley and Mikolaj Oledzki grabbed one apiece and Lolohea was on target with three goals.

St Helens coach Justin Holbrook said: "Alex was massive. I’m so happy to have him back after seeing how hard he worked. It’s great to see him come good again, he played a massive part in us winning that game tonight.

"It was a typical Saints-Leeds game. I was just happy to win without being great with the ball."

Leeds Dave Furner said: "I thought it was a tremendous effort. I’m very proud of the players. They need to keep their heads up and the fans should be proud of that team.

"We are getting better each week, there were just little lapses, we conceded some soft tries to allow them back in, which is a negative."

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