Saints 39 Catalans Dragons 16

Saints headcoach Keiron Cunningham
Saints headcoach Keiron Cunningham
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Adam Swift grabbed four tries as super-charged St Helens made it seven wins in a row to give their play-off hopes a massive lift.

Fourth-placed Saints moved four points clear of nearest rivals Catalan who crashed to a 39-16 loss, their sixth defeat in their last seven Super League matches.

Man of the match Swift notched four touchdowns for the second time this season after a similar haul against Hull KR on June 17.

The home side led 16-12 at half-time thanks to a Swift treble with forwards Dave Taylor and Jason Baitieri bagging the Dragons’ tries, both converted by Lucas Albert.

Swift, Jack Owens and Joe Greenwood added Saints’ tries after the break with the outstanding Luke Walsh landing six goals and Owens another when the Australian scrum-half was in the sin bin for an illegal tackle. Walsh also chipped in with a drop goal.

The Dragons, whose other try came from Vincent Duport, are left still seeking their first away win since beating Leeds at Headingley on June 3.

Saints were keen to avenge their last defeat - a 33-16 thumping at the hands of the Dragons in Perpignan on June 11. The visitors made an encouraging start and it needed a thundering Jonny Lomax tackle to stop Todd Carney from scoring.

Saints’ relief was short-lived with Taylor taking a pass from Eloi Pelissier to crash over from short range with Albert landing the conversion.

Saints hit back midway through the first half with a sizzling try from Swift. A 60-metre move was started by Jon Wilkin’s pass to Jordan Turner with Mark Percival breaking tackles to send his winger darting over.

Catalans lost Jodie Broughton and sub Louis Anderson had a try disallowed for a forward pass from Pelissier as the visitors hit back but Saints went ahead for the first time with another well-worked touchdown.

Walsh’s long pass found Percival who unselfishly passed to Swift to bag his second try. Walsh converted off the touchline to make it 10-6.

The outstanding Percival hobbled off with a thigh injury before Saints had Walsh sin-binned eight minutes before the break for an illegal tackle which sparked a fracas.

Catalans took advantage of the extra man for sub Paul Aiton to send Baitieri crashing over near the posts and Albert converted to edge the Frenchmen ahead 12-10.

But Saints were in front at the break thanks to Swift’s hat-trick try from a precision Turner kick just as the hooter sounded with Owens landing the goal.

Walsh returned from the sin bin to slot over a penalty early in the second half for a high tackle on Lomax.

Catalans were paying a heavy price for their ill discipline with Walsh stretching the lead to 20-12 when Glenn Stewart was penalised for holding down in the tackle. Swift scored his fourth try when he dived over in the corner from Morgan Knowles’ pass and Walsh converted to make it 26-12.

The Dragons who were giving away territory too easily and a Walsh drop-goal following another penalty increased the lead to 27-12. Catalans did manage a third try after 67 minutes with Duport taking a smart Taylor pass to cross in the corner.

Any hope of a late comeback was dashed though when Owens raced onto a superb kick by Walsh to touch down in the corner with another difficult conversion making it 33-16. Greenwood scored Saints’ sixth try, again converted by the in-form Walsh from the touchline.