|Leeds Rhinos (0) 0|
|St Helens (24) 48|
|Tries: Graham, Walmsley, Makinson, Grace 3, Fages, Coote Goals: Coote 8|
Regan Grace delivered a hat-trick of try-of-the-season contenders as champions St Helens continued their post-restart form by thrashing Leeds.
Grace beat a number of Rhinos defenders on a break from deep to add to first-half tries from James Graham, Alex Walmsley and Tommy Makinson.
The Wales winger dived in at the corner to bring up his second and the finish for his treble was another pacy burst.
Theo Fages and Lachlan Coote crossed late on to truly seal it for Saints.
Leeds’ loss was the first time they had been beaten without scoring at home in the Super League era.
Both these sides had been in action in the opening round but there was no let-up in the pace, nor the ferocity as Alex Mellor for Leeds and Morgan Knowles for Saints both went off with injuries in a bruising contest.
Kristian Woolf’s side were a little scratchy in defence of their title before the coronavirus lockdown but showed all facets of their quality in this performance.
In forwards Graham, the outstanding Walmsley and Matty Lees they had the power to roll Leeds all over the park and the quality in the backs to execute when in field position.
Both props steamed over on the back of momentum while Makinson’s score was beautifully worked out wide after further softening up through the middle.
Leeds performed heroics to charge back from 26-6 down against Huddersfield last weekend but there was to be no fairytale finish for Richard Agar’s side this time.
There was no lacking in effort, but whenever they managed to get into Saints’ red zone they met considerable defensive resistance.
At the other, there could be criticism of their middle given the ease in which Saints prised gaps but this was more about the champions being at their best than the Rhinos’ deficiencies.
Leeds Rhinos: Handley, L Briscoe, Newman, Sutcliffe, T Briscoe, McLelland, Gale, Seumanufagai, Dwyer, Prior, Millor, Martin, Smith.
Interchanges: Leeming, Oledzki, Evans, Cuthbertson.
St Helens: Coote, Makinson, Naiqama, Costello, Grace, Lomax, Fages, Walmsley, Roby, Graham, Taia, Bentley, Knowles.
Interchanges: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Lees, Amor, Smith.
Referee: Chris Kendall