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Super Saints see off Rhinos
Reigning champions suffer second home defeat of the season
St Helens secured a Stobart Super League double over Leeds Rhinos with a 31-18 win at Headingley in Sky Sports' maiden Monday night match.
Jonny Lomax scored two tries, kicked a pair of goals and also slotted over a one-pointer to help the visitors record an eighth win in 10 outings under the interim coaching duo of Mike Rush and Keiron Cunningham.
Leeds twice held the lead as they attempted to avenge their 46-6 defeat at Langtree Park back in March, though the teams were locked at 12-12 at half time.
The Rhinos struck early in the second half to retake the lead but from then on Saints dominated, scoring 19 points without reply.
Defeat put a dampener on a milestone night for Kevin Sinfield, the Leeds skipper going past 3,000 points when he converted Danny McGuire's try.
Saints drew level when Lance Hohaia's kick towards the Leeds line re-bounded off defender Lee Smith into the grateful arms of half-back partner Lomax, who showed tremendous fight to get the ball down under pressure.
The visitors went in front 10 minutes later when a superb offload from the returning Tony Puletua allowed James Roby and Lomax to set up skipper Paul Wellens, the full-back crossing for the sixth time in as many matches.
Tommy Makinson added both conversions to put his side 12-6 in front, though Leeds refused to go in trailing, Sinfield kicking the conversion to level matters just before half-time after setting up Leeds' second try for Brett Delaney.
When Brent Webb's well-timed pass allowed Jamie Jones-Buchanan to finish impressively eight minutes after the break, Leeds looked to be in control.
Saints roared back with two tries in eight minutes to go back in front, Michael Shenton's wonderful offload giving Makinson just enough room to squeeze in at the right corner, despite Webb's best efforts to force him into touch.
Makinson kicked his third goal to make it 22-18 but was then stretchered off shortly afterwards, the winger suffering a head injury following a swinging arm from Sinfield that was placed on report by referee Steve Ganson.
The penalty also led to Roby's cut-out pass sending in loose forward Jon Wilkin through a huge gap, Lomax's conversion making it a double-digit lead for St Helens, whose only two defeats since the departure of Royce Simmons have come against arch-rivals Wigan.
The half-back had his scrum cap off again to kick a penalty in the 73rd minute and, just to make certain, added a drop goal for good measure.
Leeds simply didn't have enough time to hit back, meaning they slipped to a second home defeat for the campaign. Of even more concern for the reigning champions will be their slender grip on eighth place in the table.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|Saturday 20th September|
|Leeds 20 - 24 Catalan Dragons|
|Warrington 22 - 19 Widnes|
|Friday 19th September|
|St Helens 41 - 0 Castleford|
|Thursday 18th September|
|Wigan 57 - 4 Huddersfield|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Wakefield 18 - 42 Hull K R|
|Saturday 13th September|
|Catalan Dragons 28 - 6 Castleford|
|London Broncos 36 - 46 Bradford|
|Friday 12th September|
|Salford 36 - 6 Widnes|
|Huddersfield 17 - 16 St Helens|
|Hull 24 - 19 Leeds|
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