A TOWERING performance from man-mountain Alex Walmsley laid the platform for Saints’ comfortable 40-6 victory over Leeds Rhinos.

Walmsley’s rampaging running, with a gain of more than 250m, tore holes in the Rhinos defence in his two stints as Saints booked second spot and a home semi-final.

And for the icing on the cake the powerhouse prop scored a try in what was the perfect response to last week’s golden point defeat in a game they controlled from the outset.

Saints got the ball rolling in fine style, punishing Leeds’ decision to run the ball at the end of their opening set and turning over in their own 40.

Regan Grace crossed after swift passes from Lewis Dodd and Lachlan Coote released the flankman, who nipped inside the cover to touch down with only three minutes on the clock.

St Helens Star:

Saints dominated field position, and their defence was immense, and they added to their lead on 16 minutes when Jack Welsby stepped outside inside and then back out for a wonder score.

St Helens Star:

Saints were on fire and after another strong carry from Walmsley, Morgan Knowles crossed for his first score.

Walmsley was again the provider as Saints went back-to-back when the prop’s big carry was backed up by Tommy Makinson who streaked in.

St Helens Star:

Walmsley earned his reward on 31 minutes when he collected Dodd’s pass to bash his way over.

Brad Dwyer grabbed a consolation score in a rare spell in the Saints 10m, but that was a mere consolation in a half Saints led 28-6 at the break.

Saints started again strongly with Sione Mata’utia touching down a perfectly weighted kick from Lewis Dodd.

Mata’utia has been in good form recently, but alas this was his last major contribution as he left the field with an ankle injury two minutes later.

There was a second half lull in the scoring, as Leeds battled to gain some respectability.

But the re-introduction of Walmsley soon got the scoreboard ticking over again.

It was the big man’s surging run which won a penalty and that created the platform for another Saints raid, with loose forward Knowles finishing off with his second try to bring up the 40.

Saints: Coote; Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace; Welsby, Dodd; Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Batchelor, Mata’utia, Knowles. Subs: Smith, Amor, Thompson, Wingfield.

Leeds: Broadbent; L Briscoe, Newman, T Briscoe, Handley; Myler, Leeming; Holroyd, Dwyer, Prior, Walters, Martin, O’Connor. Subs: Smith, Thompson, Sutcliffe, Johnson.