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Saints up to second
Repeat of last year's Grand Final goes against champions
St Helens have climbed up to second place in the Super League table after beating Leeds 41-20 at Knowsley Road.
While Saturday's result leaves the defending champions outside the top eight, it will offer Saints a measure of revenge for their Grand Final defeat last autumn.
Although the home side conceded a first-minute try, they soon established control of the match and built a 20-6 half-time lead.
The Rhinos attempted to mount a second-half fightback but they remained outclassed by Mick Potter's side.
Substitute James Roby scored two of St Helens' six tries, while 19-year-old winger Jamie Foster kicked eight goals from as many attempts just one week after achieving the same feat on his debut against Toulouse in the Challenge Cup.
Both sides were missing key players for the match - Leon Pryce absent for Saints with a toe injury while Leeds were hit by the late withdrawals of Brent Webb and Carl Ablett.
The home side made the worst possible start when Kyle Eastmond's kick-off went straight into touch, giving the visitors the first chance to attack.
Leeds exploited to maximum effect with a score from their first set as a superb offload from the tackle by second rower Ian Kirke set up deputy full-back Lee Smith.
Captain Kevin Sinfield added the conversion to make it 6-0 but that was as good as it got for the Rhinos in the first half.
Saints hit back with a string of penalties while Keiron Cunningham and Chris Flannery both had tries ruled out by video referee Steve Ganson - Saints' captain being held up over the line while the centre was adjudged to have touched the dead-ball line.
Ganson also ruled out a Leeds try - winger Ryan Hall found to have obstructed - but there was nothing wrong with the two subsequently scored by Saints.
Cunningham was the architect of both as first Moore and then Tony Puletua received passes from their skipper close to the line to cross within a five-minute period.
Foster converted both, did the same when Roby crossed just before the break, and also added a penalty inbetween times for good measure.
Danny McGuire went close to pulling a try back for Leeds early in the second half but Saints extended their lead after 47 minutes when clever handling from Eastmond got Flannery over.
Eastmond then kicked a drop goal before Leeds at last began to get their act together.
McGuire set up centre Brett Delaney to touch down and the stand-off also combined with Sinfield and Delaney to put Hall over in the corner.
Even so, the home side scored twice more as second rower Matty Ashurst finished off a break from Eastmond before Cunningham sent Roby over for his second.
Leeds were by now well beaten but there was still time for scrum half Rob Burrow to sprint the length of the field for the game's final try.Super League. Click here to bet.
Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||24||21|
|10||Salford Red Devils||24||19|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||24||8|
|Thursday 28th August|
|20:00||Warrington vs Huddersfield|
|Friday 29th August|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|20:00||Hull vs Hull K R|
|20:00||Leeds vs St Helens|
|Saturday 30th August|
|17:00||Catalan Dragons vs London Broncos|
|Sunday 31st August|
|15:00||Wakefield vs Salford|
|15:30||Castleford vs Bradford|
|Thursday 4th September|
|20:00||St Helens vs Warrington|
|Friday 5th September|
|20:00||Wigan vs Leeds|
|Sunday 7th September|
|15:00||Salford vs London Broncos|
|Sunday 17th August|
|Bradford 34 - 28 Hull|
|London Broncos 40 - 36 Leeds|
|Huddersfield 28 - 14 Widnes|
|Friday 15th August|
|St Helens 40 - 16 Wakefield|
|Salford 34 - 22 Catalan Dragons|
|Warrington 48 - 10 Castleford|
|Thursday 14th August|
|Hull K R 14 - 14 Wigan|
|Sunday 3rd August|
|Castleford 64 - 18 London Broncos|
|Widnes 28 - 10 Hull K R|
|Wakefield 18 - 36 Huddersfield|
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