24th October 2020, 09:47 | super_league
Leeds Rhinos were brought back down to earth as Betfred Super League champions St Helens cruised to a 40-8 win at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
Braced for the rigours of four games in 10 days, Rhinos coach Richard Agar fielded just four members of their Coral Challenge Cup-winning team and they were predictably no match for a full-strength Saints side.
Teenager Josh Simm scored a first-half hat-trick and sent Saints on their way to a victory which effectively secured their place in the play-off semi-finals.
Making only his sixth Super League appearance, the 19-year-old Simm opened his account after just two minutes, and Zeb Taia also went over before a further Simm double made it 22-0 at the interval.
Theo Fages and Kevin Naigama also scored for Saints in the second half while Cameron Smith briefly reduced the deficit for the fading Rhinos.
Losing Challenge Cup finalists Salford Red Devils fared no better as they were undone by a Bevan French masterclass in a 58-12 defeat to Wigan Warriors.
The Australian full-back scored three tries and set up two more in a performance that took his try tally to 15 in 17 league and cup games this year.
Oliver Gildart, Sam Powell and Liam Farrell all scored two tries apiece and Jackson Hastings also got on the scoreboard as they dealt the Red Devils their heaviest defeat of the season.
Centre Kallum Watkins squeezed over for Salford but - with Zak Hardaker converting all five first-half tries - the Warriors led 30-6 at the break.
Tuimoala Lolohea reduced the deficit for Salford but Wigan were merciless with Hardaker finishing with nine goal kicks from 10 attempts.
A late try from winger Tom Johnstone proved enough for Wakefield Trinity to edge out Huddersfield Giants and claim their first win since March.
Trinity looked to be heading for an 11th-straight Super League defeat before Johnstone pounced on a handling error by Sam Wood six minutes from time to go over and seal an 18-14 win.
Matty Ashurst's opening try for Trinity was cancelled out by efforts from Aiden Sezer and Jordan Turner, while Sam Wood stretched the Giants' advantage early in the second half.
Johnstone pounced for his first try of the season shortly afterwards, and Ryan Hampshire's second goal cut the gap to just two points to set up the grandstand finish.
Winger Greg Eaden scored a hat-trick of tries as Castleford Tigers held off a spirited fightback to beat Hull KR 38-24 and claim their second win in 10 league and cup games.
After a delayed kick-off due to traffic congestion, Castleford surged to a 24-0 lead inside the first half hour with tries from Jacques O'Neill, Alex Foster, Adam Milner and Eden, with Danny Richardson kicking all four conversions.
Rovers hit back with three tries in 10 minutes from Robbie Mulhern, Elliot Minchella and Shaun Kenny-Dowall, all of which were converted by Will Dagger.
Eden's second try helped Castleford regain command and, despite Matt Parcell going over for Rovers, Eaden's hat-trick seven minutes from time wrapped up a much-needed win.
Scores: St Helens 40 Leeds 8; Wigan 58 Salford 12; Castleford 38 Hull KR 24; Huddersfield 14 Wakefield 18.