Utter carnage! That’s the only way to describe St Helens’ 66-4 demolition of Huddersfield Giants at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday.
The struggling Tykes were led like lambs to the slaughter and the one-sided score line could have been even greater had the Betfred Super League table-toppers converted more of their chances.
Sizzling Saints ran in a total of 12 tries and landed nine goals to register their most complete and comprehensive victory of the season with Jonny Lomax, revelling in his stand-off role, leading the onslaught by grabbing only his third hat-trick in the famous Red Vee shirt - the others coming in 2013 against Bradford Bulls and Wakefield Trinity.
Full-back Ben Barba grabbed a couple of tries - one following a stunning first-half break from inside his own half - while fellow Aussie Ryan Morgan and substitute Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook also notched doubles.
In fact, most of the hosts tries were executed in a clinical and ruthless manner and no one will have been more delighted than winger Regan Grace who went into the clash with only two touchdowns under his belt in 11 outings before producing a blistering 73rd minute run to the line, ripping the heart out of the bewildered and bedraggled Tykes’ defence.
Debutant centre Matty Costello will also have been delighted with his night’s work and the way he helped engineer the move which created space for Lomax’s opening try gave him an early boost of self-confidence and for most of the game he didn’t look out of place along side such illustrious company.
Neither did substitute Matty Lees - making only his fourth senior appearance - and while he had less minutes on the park than his fellow 20-year-old gave a hint that better times may be just around the corner.
Huddersfield may argue that the absence of several key players, including suspended playmaker Danny Brough, England World Cup star Jermaine McGillvary , Dale Ferguson and the late withdrawals of ex-Saints half back Lee Gaskell and Seb Ikahihifo, played a part in their downfall.
But Saints were also without skipper James Roby (rib cartilage injury), Zeb Taia (concussion), Adam Swift (shoulder problem), Mark Percival (suspended) and long-term absentee Alex Walmsley and this didn’t affect their flow or rhythm
Coach Justin Holbrook was particularly pleased by the attitude of his players in the second half, refusing to rest on the the laurels of a commanding 34-0 lead and plundering six more tries in the space of half an hour
Holbrook said: “I’m really happy with the win. It was great to watch the boys play as well as they did.
“When you are playing well in the first 40 minutes, sometimes you don’t want half-time to come. You just want to keep playing.
“After slowing up a bit in the second half, I was really pleased to see them kick on again and finish the game strongly.
“Matty Costello did really well and Matty Lees, who has only played three previous games, was outstanding, too. I was really pleased for the young boys that they got an opportunity.”
It was one of the shortest Saints’ press conference this season ... Holbrook allowing his players to do most of the talking on the pitch!
Saints tries: Lomax (3), Barba (2), McCarthy-Scarsbrook (2), Morgan (2), Richardson, Grace, Amor
Goals: Richardson (9/12).
Giants tries: Turner.
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas.
Teams - Saints: 23. Ben Barba; 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 30. Matty Costello, 19. Regan Grace; 1. Jonny Lomax, 18. Danny Richardson; 10. Kyle Amor, 7. Matty Smith, 16. Luke Thompson, 15. Morgan Knowles, 17. Dom Peyroux, 12. Jon Wilkin. Subs: 6. Theo Fages, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 20. Matty Lees.
Huddersfield: 28. Jared Simpson; 23. Darnell McIntosh, 4. Jordan Turner, 5. Aaron Murphy, 33. Innes Senior; 26. Sam Wood, 15. Jordan Rankin; 25. Corlton Roche, 9. Kruise Leeming, 18. Paul Clough, 16. Oliver Roberts, 17. Ukuma Ta’ai, 19. Daniel Smith. Subs: 13. Ryan Hinchcliffe, 20. Adam Walne, 21. Adam O’Brien, 22. Alex Mellor.