Ben Guzdek reviews Saints’ dominant performance at Headingley. Here’s how the game went.
|8th||Try: James Graham. Conversion: Lachlan Coote (Saints)||Leeds 0-6 Saints|
|16th||Try: Alex Walmsley. Conversion: Coote (Saints)||Leeds 0-12 Saints|
|27th||Try: Tommy Makinson. Conversion: Coote (Saints)||Leeds 0-18 Saints|
|39th||Try: Regan Grace. Conversion: Coote (Saints)||Leeds 0-24 Saints|
|58th||Try: Grace. Conversion: Coote (Saints)||Leeds 0-30 Saints|
|65th||Try: Grace. Conversion: Coote (Saints)||Leeds 0-36 Saints|
|73rd||Try: Theo Fages. Conversion: Coote (Saints)||Leeds 0-42 Saints|
|80th||Try and conversion: Coote (Saints)||Leeds 0-48 Saints|
Saints got off to a great start, with James Graham bagging his first try since his return to Super League after seven minutes. Alex Walmsley powered towards the line and his prop partner, Graham forced his way over the line through three Leeds defenders. Lachlan Coote converted giving Saints a 6-0 lead.
Walmsley doubled the Saints’ lead in the 15th minute, powering past three defenders to score underneath the sticks, after Saints capitalised on a defensive error by the Rhinos. Coote converted once more, leaving the score 12-0.
Tommy Makinson got his sides third in the 27th minute, the ball moving across the line to the right quickly through the hands of Theo Fages, James Roby and Coote, leaving Makinson a simple touchdown in the corner. Coote kicked the conversion from a tight angle, giving Saints an 18-0 lead.
Grace scored his first try of the season just before half time in spectacular fashion, running the full length of the pitch past five Leeds players to score underneath the sticks. Coote converted as the hooter sounded, giving Saints a 24-0 lead at half time.
Saints defence was equally as impressive, halting the Rhinos on numerous occasions and their resolve was rewarded again as Grace grabbed his second try of the game which was just as brilliantly as the first. This one saw the Welshman jump and stretch, touching down in the left corner in flying fashion. Coote again converted from a tight angle, giving Saints a 30-0 lead after 58 minutes.
Grace completed the hat-trick in the 65th minute and this was arguably the best one yet. He picked the ball up in his own goal and raced the full length of the pitch to score beneath the sticks. Coote maintained a 100% conversion rate, leaving the score 36-0.
Saints refused to let up and Fages added another in the 74th minute. Walmsley once again powering through three defenders before laying the ball on to Fages who touched down unchallenged between the sticks. Coote kicked his seventh conversion, giving Saints a 42-0 lead.
Coote himself, added the icing on top of the cake on the hooter. James Bentley burst through the middle before laying the ball to the supporting Scot to score under the sticks. He added to his own conversion, kicking 8 from 8 as Saints ran out 48-0 winners, becoming the first team to ever beat Leeds to nil at home in Super League history.
The highlight of the game for me was Regan Graces’ hat-trick display, having not scored since September last year I’ve missed seeing his name on the scoresheet because when he crosses that try-line there’s always a bit of flair to it.
His second try was probably my personal favourite out of the bunch because of the sheer brilliance of being able to score a try mid-air as your being pushed towards the touchline. It’s something his winger-counterpart (Tommy Makinson) would’ve admired.
Overall Graces’ three tries earned the Man-of-the-Match award and it was well deserved to say the least.
Leeds: Ash Handley, Luke Briscoe, Harry Newman, Alex Sutcliffe, Tom Briscoe, Callum McLelland, Luke Gale, Ava Seumanufagai, Brad Dwyer, Matt Prior, Alex Mellor, Rhyse Martin, Cameron Smith.
Interchanges: Mikolaj Oledzki, Adam Cuthbertson, Kruise Leeming, Rhys Evans.
Saints: Lachlan Coote, Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, Matty Costello, Regan Grace, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, James Graham, James Bentley, Zeb Taia, Morgan Knowles.
Interchanges: Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Matty Lees, Kyle Amor, Aaron Smith.