St Helens remain top of the table with a six point gap despite a valiant effort from Castleford in the second half. Here’s what happened.
It looked to be a long afternoon for the Tigers after four tries in the first twenty two minutes gave Saints a comfortable lead.
Tommy Makinson found his way over the line after a well-worked move from Theo Fages and Lachlan Coote.
Seven minutes later, Regan Grace raced over the line on the left following a great bit of play from Zeb Taia.
A trademark run from dummy-half from James Roby set up Jonny Lomax’s try after applying yet more pressure on the Castleford defence.
Fages added his own score despite some Cheyse Blair’s attempt to stop him, with Coote involved in yet another try.
With Roby shown a yellow card for foul play, Castleford took advantage. Grant Millington was on the end of a Jake Trueman kick and with Peter Mata’utia converting, it cut Saints’ lead to 20-6 going into the break.
Saints started the second half strongly, with Jack Ashworth going over and socring underneath the posts.
Coote grabbed his second of the afternoon, along with eight points from the boot, before Kevin Naiqama finished off his try in style with an acrobatic finish out wide.
Castleford managed to reduce the deficit through tries from Chris Clarkson and Greg Eden but it was too late to make a real impact on the scoreline and gave Saints their 15th Super League win of the season.
Saints way ahead of the pack
We didn’t think it was possible for Saints to improve their performances from last season but they have managed to. Justin Holbrook seems to be rotating the squad a little more, with big guns like Jame Roby being rested occassionally to get even more out of him when he does play.
Cas never-say-die attitude
Despite Saints’ domination, Castleford never give up. Daryl Powell has instilled a real work ethic attitude into his players and you can see their response. They’ve under-performed in recent weeks but didn’t look too far off against the league’s top dogs.
Saints’ new guys fit in
Lachlan Coote and Kevin Naiqama look like they’ve been in the set-up there for years. They’re both real team-players and aren’t scared to put their hand up, both in attack and defence.
A fully-fit squad gives you more options
Saints are at the top of the table because they have had fewer injuries than most sides this season. On the reverse side, Castleford losing Luke Gale before the season had even started meant they were disrupted straight away. Althought Jake Trueman and Cory Aston have deputised well, they would be performing better with a full-strength side.
St Helens 36
Tries: Makinson, Grace, Lomax, Fages, Ashworth, Coote, Naiqama
Goals: Coote 4
Drop Goals: n/a
Tries: Millington, Clarkson, Eden
Goals: Mata’utia, Rankin
Drop Goals: n/a
St Helens: Coote, Makinson, Naiqama, Costello, Grace, Lomax, Fages, Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Taia, Peyroux, Knowles.
Interchanges: Paulo, Ashworth, Smith, Bentley.
Castleford: Mata’utia, Clare, Minikin, Blair, Eden, Aston, Trueman, Watts, McShane, Smith, Millington, McMeeken, Milner.
Interchanges: Cook, Maher, Rankin, Clarkson.