Defending champions Rhinos end Saints' unbeaten start

Defending Super League champions Leeds Rhinos handed St Helens their first defeat of the season in a thrilling encounter on Friday.

With Leeds having beaten Castleford Tigers in last year's showpiece and Saints viewed by many as the favourites for the title, the game at Totally Wicked Stadium could be seen as a potential Grand Final preview.

And it was the Rhinos who once again proved their pedigree, pulling away with three tries in the second half.

The scores were level at 12-12 at half-time, Ben Barba and Adam Swift crossing for the hosts while Anthony Mullally and Richie Myler went over for Leeds.

But, after Danny Richardson and Leeds captain Kallum Watkins traded penalties to start the second 40, it was the Rhinos who took command. 

Two unconverted tries from Ash Handley gave Leeds an eight-point lead as he scored his ninth and 10th tries against St Helens, before Barba answered with his second after a Regan Grace break.

However, Matt Parcell put game beyond doubt seven minutes from time, Saints unable to find a way back into the contest as their run of five straight wins came to an end.

Elsewhere, Salford Red Devils beat Hull FC 24-8.

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