Huddersfield 6-54 St Helens: Saints go top of Super League after cruising past Giants

Regan Grace (5) of St Helens breaks and scores a try making it 0-16

St Helens swept aside injury-hit Huddersfield to go top of Super League for the first time this season.

Full-back Lachlan Coote racked up 26 points with two tries and nine goals from 10 attempts and Wales winger Regan Grace scored two long-range tries in a 54-6 rout at Headingley, a fifth successive win that takes them above Wigan into top spot.

It was a complete mis-match against a team who have lost all four matches since gaining a shock 12-10 win over the champions at the Totally Wicked Stadium in March.

The Giants had 10 players missing for a variety of reasons and will be hoping to get new signing Chris McQueen in action as soon as possible after he watched on from the sidelines after flying in from Australia on the morning of the match.

At least Huddersfield avoided the whitewash that befell two of Saints’ three previous opponents when former Leeds forward Owen Trout scored an opportunist try on his debut.

Coach Simon Woolford, who announced in the build-up that he expects to leave the club at the end of the season, also handed a debut to hooker Reiss Butterworth and a first outing of the season to 19-year-old winger Dominic Young, who will join Canberra Raiders on a three-year deal in 2021 and was one of the few Huddersfield players to catch the eye.

At the other end of the experience scale, Saints’ England veteran James Graham made his 200th Super League appearance but the champions also had a sprinkling of youth with the versatile Jack Welsby taking the place of injured half-back Theo Fages and Josh Simm making his second appearance in place of England centre Mark Percival.

Saints opened the scoring in fortuitous fashion, hooker Aaron Smith’s grubber kicking rebounding off a defender into the grateful arms of Coote for the easiest try he will score.

England prop Alex Walmsley caused all sorts of problems for the Giants defence and it was from his popped pass out of the tackle that Smith scored the champions’ second try on 13 minutes and Coote’s second goal made it 12-0.

Huddersfield went close to pulling a try back when second rower Sam Hewitt dropped on a loose ball over the Saints tryline but video referee Marcus Griffiths ruled a knock-on in the build-up and that was the sum total of their worthwhile attacking efforts in the first half.

A careless pass gifted a long-range try to Grace on 24 minutes but St Helens missed a host of other chances and a penalty goal from Coote was their only other score up to half-time, when they led 20-0.

Huddersfield showed more resolve in defence at the start of the second half and pulled a try back when former Leeds forward Trout stole the ball one-on-one from Saints prop Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook to go in from 30 metres.

Oliver Russell added the conversion but McCarthy-Scarsbrook made amends for his error by charging over for Saints’ fourth try and restoring their 20-point advantage.

And, as the Giants began to tire, Saints cut loose, Jonny Lomax freeing up Grace for his second try and left winger Matty Costello making the most of a clever offload from prop Kyle Amor to touch down.

Coote then sliced through for his second try after more excellent work from Lomax and second rower Dom Peyroux and Walmsley piled on the agony for the Yorkshiremen with further tries.

Huddersfield Giants: Senior; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Turner, Young; Russell, Holmes; Gavet, O’Brien, English, Hewitt, J Wardle, Wood. SubsButterworth, Wilson, Trout, Edwards.

St Helens: Coote; Costello, Naiqama, Simm, Grace; Welsby, Lomax; Lees, Smith, Walmsley, Bentley, Knowles, Graham. Subs: Peyroux, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Amor, Ashworth.

1 Comment

  1. St.Helens and Warrington name their squads and say they are struggling as top flight players are either quarantined or injured… you then see the team sheet and think I can only see players who have played many times before….you look at Huddersfield, now that’s what I call having to dig deep!

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