4s and 5s and one 7 in Peter Smith's Leeds Rhinos player ratings from 40-10 drubbing at St Helens

The St Helens fans sang ‘Rhinos get battered everywhere they go’ and it’s beginning to feel like that after Friday’s 40-10 drubbing at St Helens.

It was a second successive away defeat to a top-four side following the 26-0 result at Catalans Dragons and again, Rhinos’ failings were exposed. In the first half they led early, worked hard and defended their hearts out, but ended it trailing 12-6 because of two bad errors.

Back to back touchdowns soon after the break, the first following a six-again needlessly conceded on the final tackle, allowed Saints to go two converted tries clear and from then on it was a matter of how wide the margin would finish.

Leeds did pull a try back, but their defence crumbled and Saints scored three touchdowns in the final quarter. By the end, error-ridden Rhinos looked a begraggled, dispirited side. They went ahead with a cracking try after nine minutes, but offered very little on attack following that and the number of errors they made was alarming. The first try came after Brodie Croft kicked early in the count, from near Leeds’ line, to Ash Handley on the left-wing. He was tackled by Waqa Blake, but on the next play Rhyse Martin’s pass was finished at the corner by Handley. Martin added the extras.

Saints’ Curtis Sironen had a touchdown ruled out for a knock-on, video official Tom Grant upholding referee Liam Moore’s on-field decision. but the hosts levelled at the end of the opening quarter. Matt Frawley, preferred to Jack Sinfield at scrum-half, intercepted Jack Welsby’s kick with clear territory ahead.

He didn’t have the legs to go all the way, but rather than taking the tackle threw a wild pass aimed at Handley which Tommy Makinson snapped up; allowing Konrad Hurrell put Sione Mata’utia over. Mark Percival landed the first of his six conversions. Saints’ second try came on the final play of the first half, through Moses Mbye after Luis Roberts dropped a high kick.

Daryl Clark scored from Sironene’s offload soon after the interval and then Jack Welsby picked Lachie Miller’s pocket from Lewis Dodd’s high kick in the next set and it was effectively game over. Roberts produced an excellent diving finish from Miller’s pass after Croft had handled with 22 minutes left, but that was as good as it got for Leeds.

From their perspective, the final quarter was embarrassingly one-sided as Sironen, Tommy Makinson and Welsby punished some tired defence. Saints lost Joe Batchelor and Jonny Lomax to injury in the first half, but were still far too good for Leeds whose season is in danger of fizzling out if things don’t change.

St Helens: Welsby, Makinson, Hurrell, Percival, Blake, Lomax, Dodd, Mata’utia, Clark, Lees, Sironen, Batchelor, Bell. Subs Mbye, Delaney, Davies, Stephens.

Leeds Rhinos: Miller, Russell, Newman, Roberts, Handley, Croft, Frawsley, Oledzki, O’Connor, Sangare, McDonnell, Martin, C Smith. Subs Ackers, Lisone, Goudemand, Nicholson-Watton.

Referee: Liam Moore (Wigan). Attendance: 11,367.

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