22 May 2024

Opposition Preview: St Helens

The third meeting between Leeds Rhinos and St Helens this season sees Rohan Smith's side travel to the Totally Wicked Stadium to take on Paul Wellens' Saints on Friday night, kick off 8pm.

Both sides have had an extra week to prepare for round 12 having been knocked out of the Betfred Challenge Cup

As matchday approaches, find out more about Paul Wellens' Saints side here:


Name: St Helens 

Founded: 1873

Seasons in Super League: 29

Head Coach: Paul Wellens

Club Captain: Jonny Lomax

Last three season finishes: 2023 = 3rd, 2022 = 1st, 2021 = 2nd

Best SL finish: First (1996, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2014, 2018, 2019, 2022

Grand Final appearances: 15 appearances, 10 wins

Most career appearances: James Roby (531 games)

Most career tries: Tom van Vollenhoven (392 tries)

Most career points: Kel Coslett (3,413 points)

So far in 2024...

2023 was the first season since 2018 that St Helens wasn't involved in the post-season Grand Final finale, and the club have reacted by making a quick start to 2024.

Eyes were firmly set on the upcoming season when England international Jack Welsby committed to a long-term deal, fending away interest from the NRL, and new faces Matt Whitley, Daryl Clark and Waqa Blake came into the fold. Blake's arrival in the wake of Will Hopoate's retirement completed the Saints team for this season as the former Parramatta Eels man brought NRL experience to Wellens' back line.

Saints resumed their place at the top of the league table with three wins from their opening three games, kicking off with a resounding 40-4 result against London Broncos in the season opener, before holding Huddersfield Giants scoreless the following week. A tight 12-4 win over Leigh at home put the Red Vee clear at the top as the only team to start with three wins, before a 24-20 defeat to Salford saw them drop their first points of the campaign.

Back to back results against the Rhinos in the Super League and Challenge Cup, along with a 12-4 win against reigning champions Wigan, saw Wellens' side pick up points before the Dragons proved tough to overcome in round seven. Back-to-back wins against Hull FC and Huddersfield saw the Saints produced two different performances at home as they ran riot in 58-0 outing against the black and whites, but needed a drop goal from Jonny Lomax to beat Ian Watson's Giants.

Hull KR inflicted a third defeat on the Red Vee, who conceded four tries in the second half at Sewell Group Craven Park, but normal service quickly resumed as Castleford were taken down 60-4, even though Tommy Makinson was red-carded 12 minutes in. That didn't stop Blake from causing problems with a hat trick as one of six different try scorers.

Makinson became the second player this month to announce his departure from the club, after Lewis Dodd confirmed his move to South Sydney for 2025.


Ones to Watch

Jonny Lomax

Half back Lomax is one of the longest-serving players in the Saints outfit and among the first names on the team sheet every week. Since debuting in 2009, he has helped the team to Grand Final success five times and won the Harry Sunderland Trophy on his last outing at Old Trafford in the 2022 win over Leeds.

So far in 2024, no player in Super League has more try assists than Lomax who has 13 assists. Three of those came last time out against Castleford along with a try in a 60-4 win. His kicking ability has also come in handy as he cooly slotted the winning drop goal against Huddersfield in round nine.

Daryl Clark

Former Castleford and Warrington hooker Daryl Clark arrived at the Totally Wicked Stadium with the tough task of following talismanic hooker James Roby, but already he has stepped up to the mark for Wellens. The 31-year old leads the team in tackles made (273) with an average of 27.3 per game, and ranks fourth in the league for dummy half runs. 

On the scoring front, he opened his Saints account against London in round one and added a second try of the campaign against his former club. He also has three try assists too.

James Bell

New Zealand international James Bell has turned into one of St Helens' most consistent performers over the two years he's played in red and white.

Arriving from Leigh after the team's relegation in 2021, the Scotland international has worked his way up to become one of the starting forwards for Wellens and played his part in the club's World Club Challenge win over Penrith in 2023. He has only missed one league game so far in 2024 and got two tries last time out at the Jungle.  


Round Twelve - Leeds Rhinos (Totally Wicked Stadium, KO 8pm)

Round Thirteen - Catalans Dragons (Totally Wicked Stadium, KO 8pm)

Round Fourteen- London Broncos (Twickenham Stoop, KO 3pm)

Round Fifteen - Salford Red Devils (Salford Stadium, KO 3pm)

Round Sixteen - Castleford Tigers (Totally Wicked Stadium, KO 8pm)

Stats Performers

Tries: Jack Welsby (9 tries)

Try Assists: Jonny Lomax (13 try assists)

Carries: Jack Welsby (203 carries)

Metres: Jack Welsby (1293 metres)

Tackles: Daryl Clark (273 tackles)

Post Contact Metres: Curtis Sironen (611 metres)

Tackle Breaks: Jack Welsby (65 breaks)

Offloads: Curtis Sironen (13 offloads)

Last Super League match

Get your tickets for Friday's game!

Tickets and travel for our away Betfred Super League game against St Helens are now available to purchase online at tickets.therhinos.co.uk, over the phone on 0371 423 1315 and from Leeds Rhinos Club Shop.

Prices start at £26 for adults, £18 for concessions and £5 for juniors, plus official travel with the Rhinos is £18 per person. Tickets for the match also include the Women's game beforehand as Leeds Rhinos Women take on St Helens at 5.30pm.

Please note that match tickets and travel will be available to buy from Leeds Rhinos until 3pm on Friday 24th May (subject to availability).

For more information, click here.

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