GRAND FINAL DAY LOCKED IN | Three big fixtures next Sunday at Sydney's ANZ Stadium! Burleigh and Ill...
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St Helens 27 - Salford 26
Teen scrum-half Matty Smith dropped a late goal to break Salford's hearts. But the drama was not over then with the Reds' Luke Robinson hitting the post with what would have been a match-levelling drop-goal attempt.
Saints went into the game without six regulars but initially that didn't seem to matter. The league leaders had a first-minute try disallowed when Francis Meli impeded David Hodgson chasing a high kick to the corner.
There was no disputing Willie Talau's touchdown five minutes later as he bustled 60 metres to hold off the cover and touch down.
The coachless Reds showed their spirit when young winger Stefan Ratchford collected a fine Robinson chip to the corner to score his first senior try.
Saints then lost Kyle Eastmond 18 minutes into his senior debut after taking a high tackle. He did however return in the later stages of the game.
It seemed to fire Saints up and from the subsequent penalty Leon Pryce scooted over after a fine break by Smith.
Saints then gifted the visitors a brace of tries, both courtesy of Pryce passes. The first was intercepted by John Wilshere who inter-passed with Luke Dorn, before polishing off the 80-metre move in the corner.
And another Pryce interception was then finished off by Salford's speedy wing Hodgson.
Meli fumbled a low Paul Sculthorpe pass just short of the line, but made amends when he crashed over from close range moments later.
However, from the kick-off, a sloppy Saints fumble was punished when Andy Coley hacked on a loose ball to give his side a 22-14 lead at the break.
The Reds must have been thinking that they were on their way to a first win at Knowsley Road in 27 years when they were first on the scoresheet in the second half with Wilshere touching down in the corner after Saints had had two disallowed at the other end for knock-ons over the line.
Saints rallied with a breathtaking brand of desperation football with the ball zipping through eight pairs of hands before Ade Gardner sent Keiron Cunningham over on the hour mark.
And Saints levelled seven minutes from time when Lee Gilmour collected a fine pass from Pryce to set up the dramatic finale with Smith landing the killer point before Robinson's near miss.
St Helens (14) 27 Try Scorers: L Pryce 1, W Talau 1, F Meli 1, K Cunningham 1, L Gilmour 1, Goal Scorers: P Sculthorpe 3, Drop Goals Scorers: M Smith 1,
Salford (22) 26 Try Scorers: J Wilshere 2, S Ratchford 1, D Hodgson 1, A Coley 1, Goal Scorers: J Wilshere 2, D Hodgson 1,
Friday 1st June 2007 - KO.2000 Match Official: T Alibert Venue: Knowsley Road Attendance: 7,801
St Helens Team Pryce, Gardner, Tyrer, Talau, Meli, Eastmond, Smith, Graham, Cunningham, Cayless, Sculthorpe, Gilmour, Clough. Replacements: Moore, Hargreaves, Fozzard, McGilvray.
Salford Team Wilshere, Ratchford, Littler, McGuinness, Hodgson, Dorn, Robinson, Highton, Berthezene, Korkidas, Coley, Brocklehurst, Finnigan. Replacements: Gower, Turner, Nash, Adamson.
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Leeds 42 - Warrington 26
The Wolves produced a spirited display which included a hat-trick from wing Henry Fa