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  • Sutcliffe,
    Goals: Sinfield (4),
12 - 13

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  • Roby, Scarsbrook,
    Goals: Makinson, Percival,
    Drop goals: Hohaia,
  • First Utility Super League
  • 29th Aug 2014
  • KO 20:00
  • Att: 17,682

Super League: Leeds Rhinos v St Helens preview

Last updated: 29th August 2014  


Super League: Leeds Rhinos v St Helens preview

Mitch Achurch: Determined to lay down a marker and earn his place in the Rhinos team

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Newly-crowned Tetley’s Challenge Cup winners Leeds return to Super League action by welcoming leaders St Helens to Headingley on Friday night.

Brian McDermott’s Rhinos ended a sequence of six successive final defeats when they cruised to a 23-10 victory over Yorkshire rivals Castleford Tigers in London to lift the Challenge Cup at Wembley last weekend.

Attention immediately returns to league affairs however, and with just four points separating Saints at the summit from sixth-placed Huddersfield Giants there is plenty to play for in the closing weeks of the regular season.

With just three rounds remaining Leeds are also four points adrift of Nathan Brown’s table-toppers and Friday’s clash in West Yorkshire could play a significant role in the destination of the League Leaders’ Shield.

Prior to their Challenge Cup success the Rhinos lost back-to-back Super League outings, becoming the first side to bow to London Broncos as the capital club ended a run of 23 straight defeats with a 40-36 win at The Hive.

Saints, meanwhile, have lost just one of their last five league matches and recorded a morale-boosting 40-16 win against Wakefield Wildcats in Round 24 after losing to Hull FC the previous week.

McDermott has entrusted the same 17 who played in the Challenge Cup victory against Castleford, with Mitch Achurch and Brad Singleton both coming into the squad.

Despite being named in the 19-man squad for Wembley, Achurch missed the final cut but is determined to using his disappointment as a driving force to success.

"I got the full experience," he explained in the Yorkshire Evening Post. "I did all the training sessions with the boys, I had to know the game plan in and out and I warmed up.

"It didn't really hit me until the end of the game, when obviously we'd won and I wasn't really part of the celebrations.

"It was tough, but it probably drives me a bit harder to be part of this team for hopefully the Super League Grand Final."

Battle-hardened

After his two tries in the final, Ryan Hall needs just one more to reach 200 career touchdowns, while Rob Burrow is 15 points short of 1000 points for the Rhinos.

For Saints, Lance Hohaia makes his return to the traveling party but Gary Wheeler misses out after sustaining a groin injury, although it is not expected to keep him sidelined for too long.

Leeds may be vying for a league and cup double, but one man determined to thwart their progress and end St Helens' six-year trophy drought is captain Paul Wellens.

"When it comes to the play-offs you want to be battle-hardened and playing intense rugby," he told Boots 'n' All. "That's how it's going to be come that time of year.

"In our final three games we’ll get to see where we're at and what we need to improve on come play-off time.

"If winning Grand Finals was easy everybody would do it. That's not the case. You have to expend every bit of energy you have to get there."

Leeds Rhinos: Hardaker, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Aiton, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Achurch, Briscoe, Sutcliffe, Singleton

St Helens: Makinson, Turner, Jones, Swift, Hohaia, Masoe, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Soliola, Manu, Laffranchi, Flanagan, Amor, Wellens, Walmsley, Percival, Dawson, Richards, McDonnell

Watch Leeds Rhinos v St Helens live on Sky Sports 1HD on Friday night, with coverage starting from 7:30pm

First Utility Super League Table

First Utility Super League Table - March 1 2015
Pos Team P Pts
1 St Helens 3 6
2 Leeds Rhinos 3 6
3 Catalans Dragons 3 4
4 Warrington Wolves 3 4
5 Wakefield Wildcats 3 4
6 Widnes Vikings 3 3
7 Wigan Warriors 3 3
8 Hull FC 3 2
9 Hull K R 3 2
10 Salford Red Devils 3 2
11 Castleford Tigers 3 0
12 Huddersfield Giants 3 0
Forthcoming First Utility Super League Fixtures
TimeFixture
First Utility Super League
Thursday 5th March
20:00Hull FC vs Leeds Rhinos
Friday 6th March
20:00Wakefield Wildcats vs St Helens
20:00Huddersfield Giants vs Widnes Vikings
20:00Castleford Tigers vs Wigan Warriors
Saturday 7th March
15:30Catalans Dragons vs Salford Red Devils
Sunday 8th March
15:00Warrington Wolves vs Hull K R
Thursday 12th March
20:00Huddersfield vs Castleford
Friday 13th March
20:00Warrington vs Leeds
20:00Wigan vs Hull
20:00Widnes vs St Helens

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