SAINTS climbed to the top of Super League with an emphatic 40-10 win over Leeds Rhinos to bring up a tally of a century of points in the last two outings.

In doing so they had to overcome no little adversity given they had gone into the game missing four frontline packmen – five if you count Agnatius Paasi – and then lost a couple more to injury.

The sixth minute ankle ligament injury suffered by Joe Batchelor was followed later in the half by a suspected broken hand injury for skipper Jonny Lomax.

Saints had to come back from an early Rhinos try when Ash Handley squeezed in at the corner, but tries from Sione Mata’utia and then one from Moses Mbye just before the break gave then a 12-6 lead at the break.

But the score from Daryl Clark from a Curtis Sironen offload just after the restart put Saints well and truly in the driving seat and the Rhinos’ resistance crumpled, with Saints turning on the style to rattle in the points.

Coach Paul Wellens said: “I was delighted with our performance tonight. We got caught on the back foot in the first five minutes or so and Leeds run us around a little bit.

“But once we warmed to the occasion, I thought we were very good.

“We've trained really well in the last couple of weeks and not having a game last week helped us.

“Obviously it's very evident we're down on numbers at the moment, but what we're certainly not lacking is an energy. That was evident at Castleford two weeks ago and very evident here again tonight.

“We got crucial scores at crucial times of the game, particularly the one before half time and I think that really helped us.

“At half time I spoke largely around how our defence is going to win us the game and it's great that we did some good stuff with the ball again but I am a big believer in defence is always what you need to prioritise.”

St Helens Star:

Saints scored by a variety of means from high kicks, swinging it to the wing or from close support play from the pack with other tries coming from Jack Welsby 2, Curtis Sironen and Tommy Makinson. 

A satisfied Wellens said: “I'm pleased that both sides of our game are coming together a little bit, but by no means are we the finished article.

“We've still got plenty of improvements in us, but from 1 to 17 tonight we were fantastic.

“We did some good stuff with the ball tonight.

"We got more offloads away than we usually do, but they were measured offloads – they weren’t just forcing the pass.

"We were alive on a lot of plays, Daz Clark was getting out at 9 a fair bit, we were challenging them in a number of different ways, which was really pleasing and something that we've worked on and we're going to have to continue to work.

 “Defensively again I thought we were really good. Leeds are such a difficult team to handle and they've got a lot of unconventional shapes and plays that they throw at you.

“They really challenge you in terms of catching a cold if you want to take a play off, and I really pressed that message into the team during the week, because when the ball goes away from you, you can't relax because there's a pretty good chance it's going to come back your way.

And I thought we handled that really well.

“I'm not happy that we conceded two tries but if you think of the two tries we conceded were both in at the corner by inches. If you are going to concede and that's the way to do it.”