Saints march on with comfortable win over Leeds Rhinos

Tommy Makinson claims a spectacular try against the Rhinos
Tommy Makinson claims a spectacular try against the Rhinos

Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook grabbed a rare brace as St Helens continued their dominance at the top of the Betfred Super League with a 36-10 victory over relegation-threatened Leeds.

The game was over by half-time as Saints ran in four tries from four different scorersm with the Rhinos failing to live with the intensity cranked up by Justin Holbrook's men.

The writing was on the wall after only four minutes of play as Saints raced to a 12-0 lead thanks to two easy scores from Kevin Naiqama and McCarthy-Scarsbrook.

The opener was a gift from Rhinos full-back Jack Walker, who mishandled the first high kick of the game from Lachlan Coote in the Merseyside sun. Fijian centre, Naiqama picked up the loose ball to dive over.

Less than two minutes later Jonny Lomax sent in McCarthy-Scarsbrook on the left edge as Leeds fell off the tackles.

The pressure to perform seemed to weigh heavily on Leeds after they watched fellow strugglers London Broncos battle to victory over Hull KR, who are also embroiled in the bottom of the table dogfight, the previous night.

The visitors did get one back from Brad Dwyer on their first real attack as the hooker stepped out from the ruck to dummy his way to the line.

It gave Leeds a flicker of hope in a time of need but two minutes later the hosts were over for their third try of the night.

Leeds' Tongan centre Konrad Hurrell came up with the fumble deep in his own half, which was capitalised on by the red-hot Saints. Coote burst onto a short ball to go through a gaping Leeds' hole to score, then convert.

Coote had an effort chalked off just before the break for a forward pass after Naiqama had broken through the heavy-footed Leeds defenders.

But they made one count on the half-time hooter courtesy of Lomax's stunning killer pass to Tommy Makinson, which the stand-off delivered, unbelievably without looking and under pressure. It was a phenomenal effort too from Makinson to ground the ball millimetres inside the line after referee Ben Thaler sent it to the video referee.

At 24-6 the game was over and it was about how many more the leaky Rhinos defence would ship.

To their credit their the Yorkshiremen rallied and kept Saints out for the entire half while plundering one of their own as Hurrell made amends for his earlier error with a neat offload to Luke Briscoe for another Leeds try.

Tempers frayed with 20 minutes to go as Alex Walmsley and Brett Ferres faced off. Saints emerged from the melee with more composure and enough in the bank to ease to the two points.

McCarthy-Scarsbrook and James Bentley had the final say with barge-over efforts at the end.