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Danny McGuire drop-goal has kept Leeds Rhinos on course for a third successive Super League Grand Final title after they edged out St Helens in an enthralling contest at Headingley.
Saints had held out against a Leeds onslaught in the first half and only a Kallum Watkins try separated the two sides at the interval, although Rhinos players and fans were convinced McGuire had scored under the post only for the video referee Ben Thaler to rule that his outstretched arm was not in control of the ball when it hit the whitewash.
The home side went further ahead in the second period through Joel Moon but Saints, who had won on their last three visits to Headingley, hit back.
The defending champions had been almost error free in the first half but Saints’ pressure induced a couple of dropped balls and a brace of tries from forward Willie Manu put the visitors level and set up the final magic moments.
Leeds coach Brian McDermott was delighted to progress and had high praise for Saints.
He said: “We had a lot of pressure near their try-line for the majority of the first half and it would have been nice to score more points.
“But I can’t speak highly enough of St Helens – they didn’t leave anything in their tank.
“I thought it was a cracking advert for our game and a cracking advert for the play-offs.”
Leeds will find out whether they travel to Wigan or Warrington next week in the semi-finals when Warrington have to chose their opponents on Sunday in the controversial ‘clubcall’ press conference.