St Helens Women 18 Leeds Rhinos 20: Fran Goldthorpe 's late try wins Women's Super League classic
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The first regular season fixture broadcast live on Sky Sports was a superb advert for the women's game. Rhinos trailed 14-0 after 22 minutes and were 18-14 behind until Goldthorp hacked on Winfield-Hill’s kick over the top, regathered and spun over the line to level the scores and set up the captain’s winning goal.
Rhinos conceded the opening try after three minutes, to Jodie Cunningham and the hosts added back-to-back tries midway through the half.
Zoe Harris dummied over after a one-two with Naomi Williams and in the next set, Amy Hardcastle scored a fine solo try to seemingly put the game beyond Leeds.
Harris improved the third try, after two misses by Bethany Stott.
Out of the blue, a penalty gave Rhinos a rare opportunity to attack and Caitlin Beevers finished strongly from close range off Winfield-Hill’s inside pass on 27 minutes.
Five later, Winfield-Hill collected a rebound from her own kick to give Leeds a repeat set in front of Saints’ posts and Jasmine Earnshaw-Cudjoe, who had a fine game, forced her way over from acting-half.
Winfield-Hill converted the first try via a post, but missed with her second attempt.
Rhinos were level three minutes after the interval when Goldthorp finished brilliantly after being teed up by Winfield-Hill - whose conversion was off-target - and Georgia Roche.
The scores were level until the 62nd minute when Tara Jones went over from acting-half to edge Saints back in front. Roche’s superb tackle denied Eboni Partington a try and Paige Travis had a touchdown ruled out by the video referee.
When Roche went off for a head injury assessment it seemed Saints would hang on, but Goldthorp’s moment of magic provided some payback for the 2021 Grand Final and last month’s Challenge Cup decider.
St Helens: Rotheram, Partington, Hardcastle, Roberts, Burke, Harris, B Stott, Hoyles, Jones, Crowl, Williams, Rudge, Cunningham. Subs Whitfield, Travis, D Stott, Woosey.
Leeds Rhinos: Goldthorp, Hayward, Butcher, Beevers, Robinson, Roche, Winfield-Hill, Anderson, Bennett, Barnes, Kerrigan, Frain, Hornby. Subs McCallion, Earnshaw-Cudjoe, Akwiwu, Nuttall.