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Saints' season ended by late McGuire drop goal
10:42pm Friday 20th September 2013 in Sport
SAINTS’ season has been cruelly ended by a late Danny McGuire drop goal three minutes from time.
Willie Manu’s second try had levelled matters, but Jordan Turner missed the difficult conversion out wide.
But Saints had a glorious chance to steal it when Kevin Sinfield put the restart kick out on the full.
Alas Saints did not have the kicker with the confidence to poke it over from the half way line.
Instead they drilled the ball downfield, but when it came to the end of the set Jon Wilkin’s drop goal attempt failed to get off the ground.
It handed the initiative back to the Rhinos, but with Kevin Sinfield covered the ball came across to the veteran McGuire who screwed it over on the angle to break Saints’ hearts.
Saints trailed 4-0 at the break after failing to get the rub of the green with any early refereeing calls.
Leeds broke the deadlock to take the lead on the half hour through Kallum Watkins.
And that is how it stayed until half time.
The Rhinos were first out of the blocks in the second half when Joel Moon was quickest to McGuire’s deft grubber.
Trailing 10-0 Saints had it all to do, but with their first real spell of pressure on the Leeds line they scored with a superb Wilkin pass putting Manu cruising to the line.
Turner goaled, but then Saints failed to get any lengthy pressure on the Rhinos line.
When they did get ball they wasted it on two key occasions, twice turning the ball over on the second or third tackle, with even James Roby guilty of a bad call.
A shocking play the ball from Turner when Leeds were looking ragged also let the champions off the hook.
It looked like Saints were not going to get back in it, until Roby and Wilkin again combined with a smartly executed move to send Manu over five minutes from time.
And then the tension mounted and the heartache began.
Leeds: Hardaker; Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Moon, Hall; Sinfield, McGuire; Leuluai, Burrow, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Delaney. Subs: Bailey, Achurch, Kirke, Sutcliffe.
Saints: Lomax; Makinson, Turner, Meli, Swift; Wilkin, Hohaia; Puletua, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Soliola, Manu, Jones. Subs: Wellens, Laffranchi, Clough, Walmsley.