Super League: Leeds Rhinos 24-22 St Helens
|Betfred Super League|
|Leeds Rhinos (6) 24|
|Tries: Moon, Ward, Watkins, Hall Goals: Lilley 4|
|St Helens (4) 22|
|Tries: Swift, Makinson, Roby, Walmsley Goals: Makinson 3|
Leeds Rhinos edged a thrilling match against St Helens to move up to second in the Super League table.
The hosts led 6-4 at half-time after Joel Moon and Adam Swift traded scores.
Stevie Ward's try extended Leeds' advantage early in the second period, only for Saints to then turn the match around thanks to Tommy Makinson and James Roby.
However, Kallum Watkins and Ryan Hall made it 24-16 to Leeds, and they held on despite Alex Walmsley's late try.
Rhinos are now six points off Super League leaders Castleford Tigers, while St Helens remain sixth, three points behind Wakefield in fifth.
Saints beat Leeds in a low-scoring but enthralling encounter on the opening night of the season, but this time they were to find themselves on the wrong end of another topsy-turvy two-point game.
The key period at Headingley came after Jon Wilkin was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on 62 minutes, with Leeds twice crossing the whitewash while St Helens were a man light.
There was also some concern over Saints half-back Matty Smith, who was forced off during the first half with what coach Justin Holbrook described after the game as a "serious eye injury".
"Matty had his eyelid ripped open and we couldn't stitch it so he's had to go to hospital," said Holbrook. "We're hoping he'll be OK."
Leeds coach Brian McDermott (on 17-year-old full-back Jack Walker): "He was good. He took some challenging high balls and looks okay with the ball in his hands.
"It was a big game for him and his development will be better for it.
"We've had to overcome a little bit of adversity with bans and injuries but overall I'm very pleased. We were really challenged by a determined Saints.
"We got put on the back foot a couple of times, we needed to have some fight about us."
St Helens coach Matty Holbrook: "I'm just as proud of the boys as I was last week when we got the win.
"It was really crucial to lose your half-back for pretty much the whole game. Obviously he's our main organiser so it made it hard on us and, to nearly get away with that without your half would have been huge.
"I think the sin-binning was harsh and it was massive. It makes it hard, that's for sure, when you are playing a man short for 10 minutes.
"But it shows the players are loving playing for each other. We just need to string some wins together."
Leeds Rhinos: Walker, Briscoe, Watkins, L. Sutcliffe, Hall, Moon, Lilley, Galloway, Parcell, Singleton, Ablett, Ward, Cuthbertson.
Replacements: Garbutt, Mullally, Ormondroyd, Handley.
St Helens: Lomax, Swift, Makinson, Morgan, Grace, Fages, Smith, Thompson, Roby, Amor, Taia, Wilkin, Knowles.
Replacements: Walmsley, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Peyroux.
Referee: James Child (RFL)