Leeds are undone by Newlove's try double

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The Independent Online

Paul Newlove showed the England coach, John Kear, what he has to offer his World Cup squad with two tries in three decisive second-half minutes of his come-back match.

Paul Newlove showed the England coach, John Kear, what he has to offer his World Cup squad with two tries in three decisive second-half minutes of his come-back match.

Newlove, making a surprise return after nine weeks out with back and hamstring problems, showed his old fire power to swing the game Saints' way and take them back to the top of Super League. He might have made an unsuccessful attempt to qualify for Ireland, but, on this showing, it would be a brave England coach who would leave him out, if his general fitness is up to the job.

The first half had twice seen Saints take a lead that they threatened to build upon. They went in front after only two minutes when Darren Fleary lost the ball in a tackle and Leeds' defence failed to re-adjust quickly enough to stop Paul Wellands scoring from Sean Long's pass.

Leeds came back through a Iestyn Harris penalty and it took magnificent tackles from Long and Apollo Perelini to stop raids on opposite wings from Karl Pratt and Paul Sterling. After Harris had kicked a second goal, however, it was Saints who showed the knack of try scoring, Kieron Cunningham racing away from dummy half for a solo effort.

Long's second goal put Saints eight points clear, but it was his mistake, missing completely as he tried to clear Ryan Sheridan's kick, that let in Lee Jackson. Harris's conversion plus a penalty after Sonny Nickle had been sin-binned for roughing up Sheridan brought the scores level at half-time and Leeds took the lead for the first time six minutes after the break.

With so much ball being lost in the tackle as both sides strived to keep it alive, it was not surprising that it came from a fumble from Kevin Iro, Keith Senior picking up and releasing Chev Walker.

Two more Harris goals had Leeds on their way to a winning lead, but Saints' crucial strike started when Long and Fereti Tuilagi set up Nickle.

Almost immediately Nickle made the break and Long provided the link to send Newlove over for his first.

When Newlove broke free on the left, showing all his old finishing power, Saints had clinched it, although a drop goal from Paul Sculthorpe and Cunningham's second try underlined their second-half superiority.

The Leeds coach, Dean Lance, will watch with particular interest for the verdict on Vila Matautia's tackle that left Graham MacKay with a broken nose. The Saints forward was placed on report after what Lance described as "the turning point of the match" although it was Newlove's contribution that truly decided it.

Leeds Rhinos: Cummins; Sterling, Mackay, Senior, Pratt; Harris, Sheridan; Fleary, Jackson, McDermott, Morley, Barnhill, Hay. Substitutes used: Powell, Walker, Sinfield, Farrell.

St Helens: Wellens; Hoppe, Iro, Newlove, Sullivan; Sculthorpe, Long; Perelini, Cunningham, O'Neill, Nickle, Tuilagi, Joynt. Substitutes used: Matautia, Stewart, Hall, Stankevitch.

Referee: R Smith (Castleford).

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