St Helens 46 Huddersfield 12

James Roby
James Roby

EIGHT different try scorers and only two penalties conceded in 80 minutes, the kind of statistics which Saints will need to consistently repeat if they are to end five successive years of being dubbed the bridesmaids of Old Trafford.

They produced a ruthless and almost error-free display to demolish struggling Huddersfield at Langtree Park on Sunday, extending their unbeaten Super League run to seven games and keeping them in the right frame of mind to tackle neighbours Warrington Wolves next Monday.

It was arguably one of St Helens’ most polished performance of the season with teamwork the key element.

There wasn’t a single weakness from one to 17 and had they taken all the chances which were created the final points tally could have topped the half century mark.

It wasn’t, however, quite as one-sided as the final score line suggests as there were short spells, particularly in the minutes leading up to the interval and in a point-less opening 20-minute period of the second half, when Saints had to show rock-solid defending to keep the visitors at arm’s length.

The Giants were hoping to end a barren run on trips to St Helens, where they last won 34 years ago, but within 23 blistering minutes found themselves trailing 22-0.

Winger Tom Makinson set the scoring spree in motion after only four minutes – a sweet-flowing move which was indicative of Saints’ attacking prowess on the night.

Chris Flannery’s clever flick pass deep in his own half enabled Lance Hohaia to set off on a mazy run, and although he was stopped in his tracks, Saints were eventually able to move the ball out wide for Makinson to crash over in the right-hand corner.

Michael Shenton’s run to the line was halted by a forward pass as the host continued to dominate and it was no surprise when they extended their lead to 10-0 after 14 minutes.

Flannery and Jonny Lomax combined superbly to carve a hole in the Huddersfield defence before the latter swept over the whitewash, leaving Makinson to slot over his first goal.

The wing man doubled his tally a few minutes later after Jon Wilkin’s spiralling kick had caused mayhem in the Huddersfield defence – skipper Paul Wellens and Josh Perry setting

up Francis Meli to score in the left-hand corner for his 14th try of the campaign.

Slowly but surely the Giants were beginning to find their feet and cut the deficit to 10 points in the 19th minute when ex-Knowsley Road prop Keith Mason forced his way over and Danny Brough goaled, only for Saints to re-establish a 16 point advantage in the 23rd minute.

Mason’s joy at posting the Giants’ first try quickly turned to despair as he lost possession in a tackle 20 metres from his own line, resulting in Hohaia darting through a gap on the end of a made-to-measure James Roby off-load.

Substitute Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook claimed Saints’ fifth try four minutes later, blasting his way over and allowing Makinson to land his fourth goal.

Huddersfield responded with a Scott Grix try on the half-hour mark after a tantalising Brough kick bounced kindly into the path of Michael Lawrence who sent his team-mate racing to the line unchallenged.

Brough also banged over the goal to give the Giants a slim chance of overturning a 28-12 half-time deficit but for almost 20 second-half minutes neither side added to their tally – a surprising statistic considering 40 points had been scored in an eventful opening period.

But Saints broke the deadlock on the hour mark when Anthony Laffranchi cashed-in on a switch pass and Makinson added the extras.

It was virtually game set and match for Saints who went on to emphasised their superiority with two further tries.

Roby burst through a wafer-thin defensive line to score in the 66th minute and then seven minutes from time leading try-scorer Wellens collected number eight.

Makinson also took his final goal tally to seven from eight attempts.