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Page last updated at 20:45 GMT, Friday, 11 September 2009 21:45 UK

Salford 24-30 Leeds

Salford (12) 24
Tries: Adamson, Wilsher, Littler, Ratchford Goals: Wilshere 4

Leeds (12) 30
Tries: Watkins, Pitts, Burgess, Webb, Ablett Goals: Smith 5

Full-back Brent Webb scored a try for Leeds in their win at Salford
Webb was one of five try scorers for Leeds in their win

Leeds finished the regular season with the League Leaders' Shield after a battling victory over Salford to spoil Robbie Paul's final Super League game.

Tries from Luke Adamson and John Wilshere helped Salford to a 12-0 lead but Leeds were level by the break after Kallum Watkins and Jay Pitts scores.

The Rhinos carried their momentum into the second half with Luke Burgess and Brent Webb putting them 24-12 up.

Salford fought back late on, but Carl Ablett's try was enough for Leeds.

Paul, who has played in every Super League season, has signed to play for Leigh next season at the age of 33.

And his colleagues certainly tried to ensure his top-flight career ended on a high with late scores from Stuart Littler and Stefan Ratchford taking the home team to within six points of their opponents.

It was a pass from Paul that created the break for Ratchford, although the 21-year-old still had a lot to do, sprinting past several Leeds defenders from within his own half.

But the visiting team held on to finish the regular season four points clear of second-placed St Helens.

The Rhinos are the current Super League champions and will have to come through the restructured end-of-season play-offs if they are to retain their title. Leeds will meet either Hull KR or Huddersfield at Headingley in their opening play-off game next Friday.


Dogged determination from the home side saw Adamson crash over after 15 minutes and Wilshere's score in the corner further rattled the visitors.

But a brilliant break from Ryan Hall led to Watkins crossing and Pitts debut try ensured the scores were level at the break.

The Rhinos took charge after the restart and their pressure was finally rewarded when Burgess crossed.

Webb then collected a kick from Rob Burrow before scoring unopposed and when Ablett scored Leeds' fifth try the result was secure even accounting for Salford's late rally.

Salford coach Shaun McRae:

"It's game number 10 where we've lost by eight points or less so it kind of reflects our season.

"We've had opportunities but haven't been patient enough to maximise those or to seize the game.

"I thought 12-12 at half-time was a fair scoreline but in the second half we lost it in the first 20 minutes.

"We turned over far too much ball and spent too long defending our line."

Leeds coach Brian McClennan:

"It's a good feeling. It's been two long rounds and we got the job done despite coming up against a side I thought performed well and tried really hard.

"There's a lot of respect there, they beat us at Headingley and they had a crack at us.

"We had to work really hard and that's good preparation for the finals. But it's nice to pick up the award and having won the last match made it even better."

Salford: Fitzpatrick, Wilshere, Henry, Littler, McGilvray, Smith, Ratchford, Cashmere, Alker, Stapleton, Sibbit, Adamson, Swain. Replacements: Leuluai, Paul, Sidlow, Nash.

Leeds: Webb, Donald, Smith, Watkins, Hall, Ablett, Burrow, Leuluai, Diskin, Peacock, Lauitiiti, Kirke, Worrall. Replacements: Jones-Bishop, Bailey, Burgess, Pitts.

Referee: T Alibert (Toulouse)

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see also
St Helens 12-24 Catalans
11 Sep 09 |  Rugby League
Paul impressed by Leigh ambition
05 Aug 09 |  Rugby League
Leeds 18-10 St Helens
04 Sep 09 |  Rugby League
Road to Old Trafford
25 Sep 09 |  Rugby League
Rugby League on the BBC
15 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Rugby league commentaries
03 Apr 10 |  Rugby League

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