Rhinos hold off Saints in South Stand farewell, Warriors batter Devils
Leeds Rhinos held off a late St Helens surge to earn a crucial 16-14 win in their battle for second place and say a fond farewell to their iconic South Stand at Headingley.
With Castleford Tigers having wrapped up the League Leaders' Shield on Thursday, the Rhinos boosted their chances of earning a home semi-final in the Super League play-offs with a hard-fought victory that damaged Saints' own top-four hopes.
It was an emotional evening in Leeds with the South Stand to be demolished and revamped, and a raucous crowd witnessed the Rhinos trailing 8-2 at the break.
Saints' Mark Percival and Rhinos' Danny McGuire traded kicks, but it was the visitors that stole a march shortly before the break when James Roby broke the line to offload to Zeb Taia, who passed inside for Jonny Lomax to cross.
But the Rhinos were cheering shortly after the restart when Ryan Hall celebrated his 300th club appearance by crossing out wide after being played in by Liam Sutcliffe.
The home side peppered the Saints line in search of another and they had their reward when Adam Cuthbertson finished after a charging run.
A Kallum Watkins penalty stretched the lead further, but Saints threatened to spoil the party when Danny Richardson's brilliant dummy bamboozled the home defence and brought the score within two.
Rhinos held firm, though, to put a three-point buffer between themselves and Hull FC, while Saints remain one point outside fourth place.
Hull, who are third, failed to move further clear of fifth as they were humbled 46-18 against Huddersfield Giants.
Lee Gaskell was the main protagonist for the visitors with a hat-trick, while Darnell McIntosh also scored twice.
Wigan Warriors are now also just one point outside the top four after battering Salford Red Devils in a 42-6 demolition.
Joe Burgess scored twice, while Sean O'Loughlin, Liam Farrell, George Williams, Sam Tomkins, Frank-Paul Nuuausala and Liam Marshall also touched down in the emphatic win.