Arnold's run leaves Leeds disconsolate

Rugby League Leeds 24 St Helens 46
Click to follow
The Independent Online
Rugby League

DAVE HADFIELD

Leeds 24 St Helens 46

St Helens' wing prodigy, Danny Arnold, is not only establishing himself as a prolific try scorer, he also has a true match-winners' knack of producing his most startling contributions at the optimum time.

Arnold, with seven tries in his first two Super League matches, managed just two at Headingley yesterday - a modest tally by his current standards.

But his second, seven minutes into the second half, had the effect of deflating Leeds and blowing open a previously well-balanced game.

Picking up the ball from acting-half, the 18-year-old went between Graham Holroyd and Harvey Howard and then beat Anthony Gibbons in a 77-yard sprint to the line.

Leeds, only two points behind before that spectacular try, dropped their heads and hardly lifted them again during the remainder of the match.

Paul Newlove, Keiron Cunningham and Tommy Martyn ran in further Saints tries and although Leeds' Jim Fallon scored a long range effort of his own near the end, his side finished looking dispirited.

For most of the first half, they had at least looked capable of making a contest of it. They even held a handy 14-6 lead at one stage, thanks to tries by Francis Cummins and Phil Hassan, outweighing Arnold's first touchdown.

But Saints, overcoming the weariness left over from their Good Friday victory over Wigan, hit back with tries by Alan Hunte and Andy Northey before half-time.

Although Cummins hauled Leeds back with his second soon after the interval, that merely set the stage for Arnold to illuminate the game's pivotal moments.

"I've only been scoring from 10 yards out so far this season," he said. "So it was nice to go the length, just to show that I can still do it."

As his coach, Shaun McRae, observed, it is having players who can produce that something special that could keep Saints on top of the table as the going gets tougher later in the season.

For Leeds, who had their captain, Neil Harmon, taken to hospital for checks on his neck, the only consolation is the prospect of three new players.

Their coach, Dean Bell, has a scrum-half, a back and a loose forward lined up in the Antipodes. For fans who have now seen their side lose a Challenge Cup semi-final and their first three Super League games, the reinforcements cannot arrive quickly enough.

Leeds: A Gibbon; Fallon, Iro, Hassan, Gleadhill; Cummins, Holroyd; Harmon, Shaw, Howard, Mann, Fozzard, Mercer. Substitutes: D Gibbons, Golden, Schultz, McDermott.

St Helens: Hunte; Arnold, Gibbs, Newlove, Sullivan; Hammond, Goulding; Perelini, Cunningham, Leatham, McVey, Joynt, Northey. Substitutes: Martyn, Matautia, Pickavance, Morley.

Referee: R Smith (Castleford).

n A late try by Pascal Bomati and Patrick Torreilles' goal secured Paris St-Germain a 24-24 draw against Oldham at Charlety Stadium yesterday. A crowd of 6,327 saw Paris gain their third point in three Super League games when Oldham's full-back, Paul Atcheson, failed to tidy up Patrick Entat's kick and the right winger nipped in to score.

n Workington suffered another heavy defeat at Derwent Park, this time 54-22 to Sheffield Eagles. The home side clawed their way back from a 20-2 deficit to be within only four points but the Eagles scored five tries in the final quarter to clinch victory.

Comments