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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Saints beat Leeds to reach Grand Final

IDBS ART GALLERY

Mark Percival’s second try all-but ended any hope of a Leeds comeback
St Helens (14) 36
Tries: Grace 2, Roby, Percival 2, Naiqama Goals: Coote 6
Leeds (4) 8
Tries: Myler, L Briscoe

St Helens booked a Super League Grand Final date with Catalans Dragons after easing past Leeds Rhinos.

Regan Grace gave the reigning champions an early lead, which James Roby extended before Richie Myler got Leeds on the board just before half-time.

Tries from Mark Percival and Kevin Naiqama extended Saints’ lead to 24-4.

Luke Briscoe gave Leeds hope but Percival and Grace both crossed again to secure Saints’ place in a third successive Grand Final on 9 October.

After beating Wigan in Hull to win last season’s showpiece, St Helens will now return to Old Trafford – the scene of their Grand Final victory over Salford in 2019 – to face the League Leaders’ Shield winners a week on Saturday.

Challenge Cup winners Saints’ relentless quest for silverware showed no signs of abating here, as Kristian Woolf’s side showed their dominant steel to ensure their hopes of a ‘three-peat’ remained on.

In a febrile atmosphere charged with emotion as several players said their goodbyes on home soil, Saints hit Leeds with a whirlwind first quarter in both halves to put the game beyond doubt.

Alex Walmsley, as he had done in their regular season meeting just a few weeks previous, wreaked havoc with his powerful carries, and off the back of that platform Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd and Lachlan Coote, who kicked six goals, opened the visitors up.

Grace finished off twice following sharp moves to the left, as did Percival, while Roby’s sniping effort and Naiqama’s farewell score in his last home game before returning to Australia for family reasons at the end of the season were equally well received.

Leeds showed character to stay in the game when Saints looked to have it won, and their reward came from Myler’s smart cut back inside and Briscoe’s superb finish in the corner under pressure from Dodd.

The only disappointing note was the number of yellow cards, with four players spending 10 minutes in the sin-bin, and Morgan Knowles in particular might have a nervous wait for the judiciary to see if he will be available for next week’s final after his late shot on Kruise Leeming.

Richard Agar and the Rhinos said their own goodbyes, with Rob Lui and Konrad Hurrell departing after this game, but it was Saints’ night after a dominant display.

St Helens: Coote; Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace; Lomax, Dodd; Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Mata’utia, Batchelor, Knowles

Interchanges: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Amor, Paasi, Welsby

Sin-bin: Mata’utia (29), Knowles (66)

Leeds: Myler; L Briscoe, Newman, Newman, T. Briscoe, Handley; Lui, Leeming; Oledzki, Dwyer, Prior, Donaldson, Martin, Tetevano

Interchanges: Hurrell, Smith, Holroyd, Thompson

Sin-bin: T Briscoe (20), Donaldson (44)

Referee: Chris Kendall

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