|St Helens (16) 42|
|Tries: Hurrell 2, Walmsley 2, Grace, Paasi, Batchelor, Norman Goals: Makinson 5|
|Leeds Rhinos (6) 12|
|Tries: Newman, Thompson Goals: Martin 2|
Super League leaders St Helens went six points clear as they shook off Leeds Rhinos at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
Konrad Hurrell and Alex Walmsley put Saints 12-0 up before Harry Newman replied, and Regan Grace added a controversial third after Sam Walters had a score ruled out for Leeds.
Bodene Thompson cut the gap after Hurrell added his second try, but Agnatius Paasi put Saints 26-12 up.
Joe Batchelor, Dan Norman and Walmsley all went over as the Rhinos wilted.
Leeds finished a miserable night with 11 men after Zane Tetevano’s dismissal for a reckless challenge on Hurrell and James Bentley’s late yellow card.
A sixth straight Super League win and ninth victory in 10, strengthened the champions’ bid to retain their title, while back-to-back defeats left Leeds in eighth.
Saints hit the front after seven minutes when former Rhinos centre Hurrell used his momentum to reach out and ground the ball on the line.
Walmsley added a second Saints try after a superb Morgan Knowles offload, but Newman cut open the home defence with a thrilling run, slaloming his way from the touchline to cross near the posts.
A breathless first half then turned in the final 10 minutes in two calls from video referee Liam Moore.
With Leeds creating havoc, Walters thought he had levelled, but saw his try overturned when Moore ruled the ball was not under the back row’s control as he touched down.
Moments later there were doubts over Grace’s grounding after a sweeping team move, but Moore said there was not enough evidence to rule out the score and the hosts led 16-6 at the break.
Hurrell muscled his way over for his second score as the hosts turned the screw, but Rhinos were gifted a lifeline when Blake Austin’s crossfield kick was fumbled and Thompson strolled in.
But hope was quickly extinguished as Paasi’s powerful finish restored Saints’ 14-point lead before Jonny Lomax sent new England international Batchelor through the tiring visitors.
Norman and Walmsley took the try tally to eight for the merciless hosts as Leeds ran out of steam and lost their heads, subsiding to an 11th straight defeat against the Saints.
Top-of-the-table rivals Catalans and Wigan can reduce the deficit to four points this weekend if they win their games in hand against Castleford and Toulouse respectively.
St Helens: Bennison, Makinson, Hurrell, Davies, Grace, Welsby, Lomax, Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Sironen, Batchelor, Knowles.
Interchanges: Passi, Lussick, Wingfield, Norman.
Leeds: Hardaker, Fusitu’a, Newman, Martin, Handley, Austin, Sezer, Donaldson, Thompson, Bentley, Prior, Leeming, Oledski.
Interchanges: Tetevano, O’Connor, Walters, Myler.
Red card: Zane Tetevano (76). Sin-bin: Thompson (62), Bentley (77).
Referee: T. Grant.