Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 9th Feb 2017 9:51 PM
Super League 2017 touched down at the 'Totally Wicked Stadium' as St. Helens welcomed the Leeds Rhinos for the seasons opening fixture. Both sides were looking to get their campaign off to the best of starts with an opening weekend win, one would be disappointed in eighty minutes time.

Saints were without new signing Matty Smith, out with a nasty pre-season injury, and the Rhinos had lost Brett Ferres, Danny McGuire and Brett Delaney to friendly game knocks. But both sides gave debuts to new signings.

It had been a scrappy opening twenty minutes, despite the high tempo, with both sides gifting possession, giving away some clumsy early season penalties, and being thwarted by good defence when close to the opponents line.

It was the Rhinos who broke the deadlock with a passing move to the left which saw Joel Moon fend off the Saints defenders to ground before sliding into touch. Liam Sutcliffe pulled the conversion left of the uprights.

On twenty-four Saint Adam Swift knocked-on a Rob Burrow high kick under no pressure but Saints managed to defend their line and thwart the Rhinos.

Saints had had the upper hand in the first ten minutes but Leeds dominated the next twenty before Saints put the pressure back on the visitors leading up to the interval. There was nothing to choose between the sides as they went into the sheds.

From the start of the second half it was all Saints with the going close on two occasions before, with two and a half minutes on the clock, Theo Fages found a gap to go between two Leeds defenders to ground from five metres out. Mark Percival kicked the conversion and edged his side 6-4 ahead.

On forty-seven it looked like Liam Sutcliffe was over for the Rhinos after a Kallum Watkins break but a superb Tommy Makinson tackle dragged the Rhinos half-back into touch just short of the try line.

Both sides had multiple chances over the next half-hour but it was two solid defences who bossed the game and frustrated repeated attacks.

When Luke Thompson lost the ball on the half-way line the Rhinos looked to snatch the points but despite the Rhinos throwing the ball around with abandon the Saints defence didn't panic and held firm.

Saints held on through the closing minutes for a hard fought two point opening round victory.

It was a colossal battle of two strong defences with just a conversion to choose between the two sides. If this is what Super League 2017 is going to serve up on a weekly basis, we are in for a treat.

Saints: Lomax, Makinson, Morgan, Percival (G), Swift, Fages (T), Richardson, Amor, Lee, Douglas, Greenwood, Peyroux, Wilkin. Subs: Walmsley, Roby, Thompson, Knowles.

Rhinos: Golding, Briscoe, Watkins, Moon (T), Hall, Sutcliffe, Burrow, Garbutt, Parcell, Cuthbertson, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Singleton. Subs: Ward, Keinhorst, Mullally, Baldwinson.

Referee: Phil Bentham.

Half-Time: 0-4.

Full-Time: 6-4.

Attendance: 12,208.
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W/D/L DATE COMP HOME AWAY
Sun 23rd Jul SL WAK STS
Thu 6th Jul SL WAK CAS
Sat 1st Jul SL WAK WAR
Sun 11th Jun SL WAK LEE
Fri 26th May SL WAK HUD
Sun 30th Apr SL WAK CAS
Mon 17th Apr SL WAK WIG
Fri 7th Apr SL WAK WID
W Thu 23rd Mar SL WAK 28 24 LEI
W Sun 12th Mar SL WAK 24 22 SAL
L Sun 12th Feb SL WAK 8 12 HFC
L Fri 23rd Sep SL STS 32 12 WAK
L Fri 2nd Sep SL CAS 46 22 WAK
L Sun 21st Aug SL WID 40 8 WAK
L Fri 5th Aug SL WIG 60 12 WAK
W Sat 16th Jul SL CAT 28 30 WAK
L Fri 8th Jul SL WIG 22 18 WAK
W Sun 12th Jun SL HUD 2 10 WAK
L Fri 27th May SL SAL 38 8 WAK
W Fri 29th Apr SL WID 16 18 WAK
W Mon 28th Mar SL LEE 16 20 WAK
L Fri 18th Mar SL HFC 22 4 WAK
L Fri 11th Mar SL STS 44 4 WAK
L Fri 26th Feb SL WAR 34 16 WAK
W Sun 21st Feb SL HKR 12 14 WAK
L Sun 14th Feb SL CAS 40 6 WAK
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