St Helens booked their place in the Quarter-Finals of the Challenge Cup, after a hard-fought 26-18 victory over Leeds Rhinos at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
Saints took the lead inside three minutes as Tommy Makinson got the ball out wide, and bumped off a couple of defenders to score. He then converted to stretch their lead out to six points.
Not long after Sione Mata’utia had to go off for Saints for a HIA, Leeds drew level as Mikolaj Oledzki picked the ball up from close range and went over. Rhyse Martin scored the conversion.
Saints went back in front just past the half-hour, as Makinson took the two after a high tackle on James Bentley.
Five minutes into the second half, Leeds were reduced to 12 men, as Zane Tetevano was sent off after a shoulder charge that made direct contact to the head of Theo Fages.
From the resulting penalty, Makinson took the two and edged Saints four points ahead.
Just three minutes later, Saints got their second try of the match, as they spread the ball out wide to Regan Grace, who finished in the corner. Makinson was off-target with the conversion attempt.
Saints moved further in front past the hour, as Grace took in a cutout pass from Jonny Lomax to go over for his second. Makinson was back on target as Saints reached 20 points.
But the Challenge Cup holders were not ready to let go of their crown just yet, as Brad Dwyer went over from dummy half to bring the Rhinos back into it. Martin scored the conversion to make it an eight-point game.
With less than 10 minutes to go, Dwyer got in again from dummy half, as Leeds continued to reduce the deficit. Martin converted to leave the Rhinos just two points behind.
But the final word would go to the Super League champions, as Makinson went over acrobatically in the corner with seconds to go. He then converted to make it an eight-point winning scoreline.
Both sides return to league action next week. Leeds welcome Wigan Warriors on Thursday, while Saints welcome Wakefield Trinity a day later.
St Helens: Lachlan Coote, Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, Jack Welsby, Regan Grace, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Matty Lees, Joel Thompson, James Bentley, Sione Mata’utia.
Subs: Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Kyle Amor, Agnatius Paasi, Lewis Dodd.
Head Coach: Kristian Woolf.
Leeds Rhinos: Jack Broadbent, Tom Briscoe, Alex Mellor, Alex Sutcliffe, Luke Briscoe, Rhyse Martin, Cameron Smith, Mikolaj Oldedzki, Kruise Leeming, Matt Prior, Sam Walters, James Donaldson, Zane Tetevano.
Subs: Brad Dwyer, Jarrod O’Connor, King Vuniyawa, Morgan Gannon.
Head Coach: Richard Agar.