St Helens 54 Leeds 18: Divine Saints feed Leeds to rampant Lyon

Click to follow
The Independent Online

On the night Saints produced a Jamie Lyon souvenir programme to mark the impending departure of the Australian centre who has given them two such memorable seasons, he demonstrated yet again what a remarkable player he has been.

On what is likely to be his penultimate appearance at Knowsley Road, Lyon scored a hat-trick of tries, set up two others and added six goals. "He was magnificent tonight," said his coach, Daniel Anderson.

It was no one-man show, though, with Sean Long, Paul Wellens, Jon Wilkin and Francis Meli almost as impressive. At full-time they were presented with the League Leaders Trophy, having shown just how far ahead of the rest they are.

Leeds contributed to the tries Saints scored in the first 10 minutes. The first two were the result of Leeds men losing the ball in the tackle. The first culprit was Clinton Toopi, allowing Keiron Cunningham to set up Lyon's first, before Jordan Tansey followed suit for Long to go over. Lyon failed to convert either try but he was on the mark when Meli scored a spectacular length-of-the-field effort.

Saints struck again after 18 minutes, Wellens' pass putting Lyon over for a second try. His third was not far behind, thanks to Long's pass and Wilkin's measured kick. Ali Lauitiiti's pass then put Ashley Gibson in at the corner for Leeds, but the winger lost control in touching down. Soon Lyon was creating a try for Ade Gardner, after good work by Long and Wilkin.

Leeds got a try after 53 minutes when Scott Donald touched down Rob Burrow's kick, but Meli then got his second, set up by Maurie Fa'asavalu and Mike Bennett. Long's clever kick then served a try up for Wellens, closely followed by his second from a stunning break by Wilkin. Lyon provided Gardner with his second, followed by a first career goal from Paul Anderson. Donald and Toopi got tries for Leeds but they, like most of the rest in Super League, had been outclassed.

"There are a lot of very, very happy players," said Anderson as his side paraded the trophy. "They were irrepressible tonight. It was a very skilful performance from a very hungry, motivated group of players."

There was some bad news, though, as Saints' injured captain, Paul Sculthorpe, confirmed that his chronic knee problem will keep him out of Great Britain's Tri-Nations campaign.

St Helens: Wellens; Gardner, Lyon, Gilmour, Meli; Pryce, Long; P Anderson, Cunningham, Cayless, Wilkin, Bennett, Hooper. Substitutes used: Roby, Graham, V Anderson, Fa'asavalu.

Leeds: Tansey; Donald, Toopi, Senior, Gibson; Sinfield, Burrow; Jones-Buchanan, Diskin, Thackray, Peacock, Lauitiiti, Ellis. Substitutes used: Millard, Walker, Bailey, Kirke.

Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).