Qualifiers: Leeds Rhinos edge Salford Red Devils 18-16 after Liam Sutcliffe's last-minute goal
|Leeds (8) 18|
|Tries: T. Briscoe 2, Keinhorst Goals: Sutcliffe 3|
|Salford (4) 16|
|Tries: Evalds, Burke, Olpherts Goals: Chamberlain 2|
Liam Sutcliffe’s last-minute penalty goal steered Leeds towards Super League safety and ended Salford’s unbeaten Qualifiers run with an 18-16 victory.
In a low-scoring yet intense encounter, Tom Briscoe and Jimmy Keinhorst tries, with Niall Evalds in reply, gave the Rhinos an 8-4 first-half lead.
Tries were then traded again, as Briscoe’s second was cancelled out by Greg Burke and Derrell Olpherts scores.
The draw seemed inevitable before Sutcliffe slotted home the decider.
There was frustration from the Salford contingent about the penalty, awarded for interference at the ruck with time ticking away, but Sutcliffe kept his cool to seal the points.
With the announcement of a new structure for next season changing to ‘one-up, one down’ from the Championship, it has become even more imperative to avoid relegation this term.
Reigning Super League champions Leeds had stuttered throughout this campaign, losing one game against Hull KR, but this victory was hugely important in their bid to return to the top flight next season with two to play.
They have eight points, as do Salford, who despite lacking star half-back Jackson Hastings through suspension were competitive throughout and should also be safe for the Super League in 2018.
Leeds: Walker; T. Briscoe, Keinhorst, Moon, L. Briscoe; L. Sutcliffe, Myler; Crosby, Dwyer, Singleton, Ferres, Jones-Buchanan, Thompson.
Replacements: Parcell, Cuthbertson, Peteru, Smith.
Salford: Evalds; Bibby, Chamberlain, Welham, Olpherts; Lui, Wood; Tasi, Lussick, Lannon, Jones, McCarthy, Flanagan.
Replacements: Kopczak, Murray, Burke, Turgut.
Referee: James Child (RFL)