Super League: St Helens 6-4 Leeds Rhinos
|Betfred Super League|
|St Helens (0) 6|
|Try: Fages Goal: Percival|
|Leeds (4) 4|
St Helens earned a narrow win in a low-scoring but enthralling Super League season opener against Leeds Rhinos.
Joel Moon scored the first try of the new season in the corner as Rhinos went into the break 4-0 ahead.
Theo Fages crashed over early in the second before Mark Percival's conversion gave the lead to Saints, who had two tries ruled out by the video referee in the match.
Leeds pressed for another, but Saints stood firm in an energy-sapping game.
As the game came to a close, both sides needed last-ditch defending to save them, including from Rhinos' Ashton Golding, a stand-out performer to deny Saints getting more scores on the board throughout.
The Rhinos, who had to secure their Super League place through The Qualifiers last campaign, looked a totally different side to the one that found itself bottom of the table during last season.
Rob Burrow, playing his 500th Leeds Rhinos match, and Carl Ablett put Moon in for the first try, and Golding held up Tommy Makinson to ensure the visitors kept their advantage going into the second half.
Saints were without the injured Matty Smith, but Danny Richardson was impressive throughout, and his half-back partner Fages broke through the defence to help put Saints ahead.
Makinson then superbly saved a certain try himself, taking Liam Sutcliffle out of play when the Leeds man looked to be heading for the line.
Leeds had the majority of play towards the end of the match, but Saints' long-kicking game made it difficult for Rhinos to gain ground and the hosts held out for victory.
St Helens: Lomax, Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Swift, Fages, Richardson, Amor, Lee, Douglas, Greenwood, Peyroux, Wilkin.
Replacements: Walmsley, Roby, Thompson, Knowles.
Leeds: Golding, Briscoe, Watkins, Moon, Hall, Sutcliffe, Burrow, Garbutt, Parcell, Cuthbertson, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Singleton.
Replacements: Ward, Keinhorst, Mullally, Baldwinson.
Referee: Phil Bentham