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The top of Super League beckoned for either the Huddersfield Giants or St Helens as the two sides met at the John Smiths Stadium for a round two encounter which was the prelude for many to the World Club Challenge match between Wigan and Penrith which would take place later in the evening.

With Jake Connor sidelined due to concussion protocols, Tui Lolohea stepped into the Giants full-back spot while the visitors were without the services of Konrad Hurrell, and Waqa Blake after last week’s comfortable win over London Broncos.

St Helens were the favourites for the win with the Giants having been given a ten-point start on the handicap coupon but this early in the season it was a bit of a guessing game.

It took just ten minutes for Saints to take the lead when Matt Whitley ran through the Giants defence to touch down a Jonny Lomax grubber. Mark Percival added the conversion for a 6-0 lead.

A twenty-fifth minute Percival penalty attempt from forty metres drifted wide of the uprights and was waved away by the touch judges, Saints looking for some respite after defending against the home side, frustrated at only leading by a single converted try.

Two minutes from the interval Sione Mata’utia broke the tackle and bounced over the line after taking a James Bell short pass five metres from the line. After great defence from the Giants, it was a killer blow just before the interval with Percival adding the extras for a 12-0 lead at the break.

The third St Helens try on fifty-one minutes when Jack Welsby chased a Daryl Clark grubber to take the ball sliding on his knees and ground under the sticks. Percival added the conversion for 18-0, the game beyond the Giants and the two points in the bag, propelling them to the top of the table for the start of round three.

On sixty-two Clarke obstructed Esan Marsters as he chased a grubber into goal, the video referee agreed with the on field official that it wasn’t a penalty try but Clarke was sin-binned.

With Clarke back on the field, a lovely flowing move from Saints was the icing on the cake on seventy-five with Jon Bennison finding space down the left-hand side to take the final pass to score in the corner after three great breaks and passes. Tommy Makinson took the conversion but pushed the ball wide.

On seventy-seven Morgan Knowles went over from ten metres to dive under the sticks. Makinson was on target this time for a final score of 28-0.

Saints didn’t need to bring their ‘A’ game to Huddersfield against a Giants side which struggled for inspiration in attack, and towards the end of the game, lacked energy in defence. It was always likely to be a Saints win but Paul Wellens will be delighted at the nature of it, and the size of the victory. They took the lead early, held onto it with ease and sprinted away to a comprehensive win in the dying minutes.

Huddersfield Giants: Lolohea, Swift, Marsters, Naioama, Wallis, Clune, Russell, Hill, Milner, Ikahihifo, Murchie, Hewitt, Sudhoe. Subs: Golding, English, Wilson, Salabio. 18th Man: Halsall.

St Helens: Welsby (T), Makinson (G), Blake, Percival (3G), Bennison (T), Lomax, Dodd, Walmsley, Clark (SB on 62), Lees, Whitley (T), Sironen, Knowles (T).  Subs: Mata’utia (T), Bell, Wingfield, Delaney. 18th Man: Davies.

Half-Time: 0-12.

Full-Time: 0-28.

Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, 0-10, 0-12 : HT: 0-16, 0-18, (SB), 0-22, 0-26, 0-28 :FT.

Lead Exchanges:  St Helens.

Referee:  Aaron Moore.

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 24th Feb 2024 7:16 PM | Views : 3734 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES