Woe for Wilkin as Rhinos edge out Saints to go second


Jon Wilkin endured a night to forget as Leeds Rhinos beat St Helens 24-22 on Thursday to move second in Super League.

Saints skipper Wilkin was inadvertently responsible for injuring team-mate Matty Smith in the opening 10 minutes at Headingley, accidentally punching the half-back in the face as he joined a tackle.

Smith was unable to continue - his coach Justin Holbrook subsequently revealed the former Wigan man's eyelid had been "ripped open" - but St Helens came from 12-4 down in the second half to lead by four points.

However, Wilkin was then sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Mitch Garbutt, having appeared to apply downward pressure to the Leeds forward's neck.

And the Rhinos swiftly took advantage by moving back ahead, Jordan Lilley - on his return from a loan spell in the second tier with Bradford Bulls - converting a Kallum Watkins try that had resulted from the former's high kick being patted back by a leaping Tom Briscoe.

Upon Wilkin's return to the fray, the impressive Joel Moon put Ryan Hall over, with another Lilley conversion extending Leeds' lead to eight once more.

Alex Walmsley powered over for the Saints with just over two minutes remaining, but the visitors could not repeat their remarkable comeback victory over Salford Red Devils last time out.