St Helens 36-10 Leeds: Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook scores twice for formidable Saints
Super League leaders make it 10 wins from 10 games at home
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 22/06/19 9:07am
Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook scored two tries as St Helens preserved their 100 per cent home record with a 36-10 win over Leeds Rhinos at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
Justin Holbrook's side were 12-0 up in under five minutes as Kevin Naiqama and McCarthy-Scarsbrook both went over, before Brad Dwyer reduced the deficit.
Tommy Makinson produced a superb score on the stroke of half time to extend Saints' lead once more, but Luke Briscoe's try five minutes into the restart kept Leeds in the contest.
It was only after James Donaldson was sin-binned with six minutes remaining that Saints added to the margin of their victory as McCarthy-Scarsbrook added a second before James Bentley completed another fine home win for the Super League leaders.
The opener was a gift from Rhinos full-back Jack Walker, who mishandled the first high kick of the game from Lachlan Coote in the Merseyside sun. Fijian centre, Naiqama picked up the loose ball to dive over.
Less than two minutes later Jonny Lomax sent in McCarthy-Scarsbrook on the left edge as Leeds fell off the tackles.
The pressure to perform seemed to weigh heavily on Leeds after they watched fellow strugglers London Broncos battle to victory over Hull KR, who are also embroiled in the bottom of the table dogfight, the previous night.
The visitors did get one back from Brad Dwyer on their first real attack as the hooker stepped out from the ruck to dummy his way to the line.
It gave Leeds a flicker of hope in a time of need but two minutes later the hosts were over for their third try of the night.
Leeds' Tongan centre Konrad Hurrell came up with the fumble deep in his own half, which was capitalised on by the red-hot Saints. Coote burst onto a short ball to go through a gaping Leeds' hole to score, then convert.
Coote had an effort chalked off just before the break for a forward pass after Naiqama had broken through the heavy-footed Leeds defenders.
But they made one count on the half-time hooter courtesy of Lomax's stunning killer pass to Tommy Makinson, which the stand-off delivered, unbelievably without looking and under pressure. It was a phenomenal effort too from Makinson to ground the ball millimetres inside the line after referee Ben Thaler sent it to the video referee.
At 24-6 the game was over and it was about how many more the leaky Rhinos defence would ship.
To their credit their the Yorkshiremen rallied and kept Saints out for the entire half while plundering one of their own as Hurrell made amends for his earlier error with a neat offload to Luke Briscoe for another Leeds try.
Tempers frayed with 20 minutes to go as Alex Walmsley and Brett Ferres faced off. Saints emerged from the melee with more composure and enough in the bank to ease to the two points.
McCarthy-Scarsbrook and James Bentley had the final say with barge-over efforts at the end.