St Helens overcame a stubborn and spirited Halifax side to book a place at Wembley for the first time in 11 years.
Halifax went short straight from kick off with ex-Saint Steve Tyrer beating Tommy Makinson to the ball to give Fax an early opportunity.
However it Saints who scored the first points of the game. Fax firstly gave a penalty for a high shot and Alex Walmsley was pulled back from chasing a James Roby kick. Richardson kicked the penalty to give them an early lead.
Luke Thompson was then penalised for a late shot on Ben Johnston and Tyrer levelled the game.
Saints had the majority of possession and were knocking on the door of the Halifax line. Credit to Fax, they stayed stubborn with some outstanding scrambling defence.
James Roby finally got the first try of the game with a try from dummy half to make the score 8-2 at half time.
Dom Peyroux then gave Saints some breathing space after the break after Jack Ashworth took the ball to the line before releasing a short ball for Peyroux to crash on to.
Saints then took away the game from Fax as Jonny Lomax showed he is still a top-class full back as he linked up with Richardson to score in the corner.
Theo Fages then pounced on a clever Roby kick through to make the score 26-2 at full time.
Nobody gave Halifax a chance and many people thought Saints would win by 50+ points. Halifax are made up of part-time players who many of them graft throughout the week and only train three times a week. To keep themselves to within 6 points of Super League table toppers St Helens can only be seen as a massive moral victory.
It was quite refreshing to see Halifax play with a lot of intelligence. They were not expected to win and had nothing to lose. They went short from the first kick off and this showed exactly how they were going to play. Fax tried to make metres any way they could such as the short kick-offs and trapping the ball in the scrum for a penalty.
Doesn’t matter how you win
The only player to have played at Wembley in the St Helen’s team is James Roby. After losing six semi-finals on the bounce, it didn’t matter how they won just as long as they got over the line. The reaction of Tommy Makinson and Alex Walmsley after the final whistle just showed how much it meant to the team.
Influential full-back Lachlan Coote missed the game through injury but one player Saints missed even more than him was Morgan Knowles. Knowles is the type of player who goes about his work unassumingly and only realises how much work he gets through once he is missing. Saints needed his graft in those conditions and the arm wrestle they were in with Fax.
St Helens 26
Tries: Roby, Peyroux, Lomax, Fages
Goals: Richardson (5)
Drop Goals: n/a
St Helens: Lomax, Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace, Fages, Richardson, Walmsley, Roby, Thompson, Peyroux, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Paulo
Interchanges: Amor, Lees, Ashworth, Bentley
Halifax: Grix, Robinson, Tyrer, Saltonstall, Sharp, Murrell, Johnston, Tangata, Moore, Kavanagh, Butler, Barber, Fairbank
Interchanges: Fleming, Kaye, Larroyer, Morris