Rhinos competed for most of the game, but their big defensive effort took its toll in the final 23 minutes when Saints ran in four tries. Saints had also won the Challenge Cup and finished top of the table and their defence was too strong for a Leeds side lacking several key players due to injury.
Rhinos made a good start, but could not take advantage of Jodie Cunningham’s early sin-binning and Saints went ahead through Leah Burke when down to 12 players.
Cunningham, the new Woman of Steel, scored a brilliant solo try just before the interval to make it 10-0, but Leeds were still in the contest until Burke and Amy Hardcastle went over for back-to-back touchdowns just before the hour mark.
As Rhinos tired, Zoe Harris and Danielle Bush added to Saints’ tally, both off passes by Cunningham and Beth Stott finished with two conversions.
Leeds coach Lois Forsell said: “We started off really well; for the first 20 minutes we gave a good account of ourselves, but there were some missed opportunities and we gave ourselves too much to do.”
Huddersfield Giants pipped Featherstone Rovers 24-22 in the final of the Shield competition, which involved Super League’s bottom five teams. Winger Amelia Brown’s two tries in five minutes swung the game Giants’ way after Rovers had hit back from 12-4 down to lead 16-12 early in the second half.
Francesca Townend and Bridget Campbell were Giants’ other try scorers. Chloe Billington, Olivia Grace and Brogan Churn, with a brace, were Rovers’ scorers.