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Super League play-offs: Brian McDermott gives credit to St Helens after Leeds win
Leeds coach Brian McDermott heaped praise on a beaten St Helens side after the Rhinos prevailed in "an epic game" at Headingley.
The defending Super League champions are 80 minutes away from a sixth Grand Final appearance in seven years after a late Danny McGuire drop goal secured a 11-10 win in a nail-biting contest.
The hosts went 10-0 up but were later forced into some desperate defence as St Helens, inspired by Jon Wilkin and Jonny Lomax, stormed back into the contest and threatened to dump McDermott's side out.
"We had a lot of pressure near their tryline for the majority of the first half and it would have been nice to convert some of that," McDermott said.
"But I can't speak highly enough of St Helens. I feel humble that we've won it, although I don't feel lucky. I thought it was a cracking advert for our game and a cracking advert for the play-offs.
"It was such an epic game, with both teams throwing everything at each other. St Helens didn't leave anything in their tank and we had to be very good."
After completing the line-up for the last four, the champions now wait for Sunday's Club Call announcement by Warrington to discover their semi-final opponents.
McDermott added: "I'm not bothered who we play. We know we're in the next round and we're pumped about that."
St Helens' second defeat in nine matches ended hopes of a Grand Final appearance in Nathan Brown's first season at the helm but the Australian coach was proud of his side's efforts.
"Obviously when you lose, the season is over and it's very disappointing but I'm really proud of our guys," Brown said.
"You couldn't fault the effort from both sides. It was what proper semi-final football is all about. The commitment and effort from both teams was super."
Brown defended his team's decision not to kick for goal when they received a penalty on halfway with the scores locked at 10-10 late on.
He said: "Jonny Lomax couldn't kick because of his hamstring injury. Going for touch was the safest option for us at the time."
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First Utility Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||3||2|
|10||Salford Red Devils||3||2|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th March|
|20:00||Hull FC vs Leeds Rhinos|
|Friday 6th March|
|20:00||Wakefield Wildcats vs St Helens|
|20:00||Huddersfield Giants vs Widnes Vikings|
|20:00||Castleford Tigers vs Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:30||Catalans Dragons vs Salford Red Devils|
|Sunday 8th March|
|15:00||Warrington Wolves vs Hull K R|
|Thursday 12th March|
|20:00||Huddersfield vs Castleford|
|Friday 13th March|
|20:00||Warrington vs Leeds|
|20:00||Wigan vs Hull|
|20:00||Widnes Vikings vs St Helens|
|First Utility Super League|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Widnes Vikings 16 - 58 Wakefield Wildcats|
|Hull K R 22 - 20 Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Salford Red Devils 32 - 28 Hull FC|
|Catalans Dragons 38 - 18 Warrington Wolves|
|Friday 27th February|
|St Helens 21 - 14 Castleford Tigers|
|Thursday 26th February|
|Leeds Rhinos 28 - 24 Huddersfield Giants|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wakefield 44 - 24 Hull K R|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Catalans Dragons 13 - 12 Castleford|
|Friday 13th February|
|Hull 6 - 7 Warrington|
|Leeds 38 - 6 Widnes|
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