St Helens marked the Mose Masoe round of Super League fixtures with a 25-0 win over another of the Samoa international’s former clubs, Hull KR.
The writing looked on the wall for the Robins as the champions raced in to a 10-0 lead inside seven minutes.
But just as in their second half fightback against Catalans last week, Tony Smith’s side showed guts in going toe to toe in the champions with a brave defensive effort, though they offered little going forward.
Two brilliant tries got Saints on the board as first winger Regan Grace stretched to take a high pass, sprung inside off his left boot that was millimetres from the touchline and then protected the ball smartly as he crashed over the line.
Then Theo Fages created space with some tidy footwork close to the line, getting the ball out of the tackle for Jack Welsby to crash over and it looked like a long evening was in store for the Robins, who were the ‘home’ side despite the fact the game was played at St Helens’ Totally Wicked Stadium.
Stout defence kept Hull KR in the game, and they had Kyle Amor and Aaron Smith held up over the line as they desperately sought to keep Saints out.
Their efforts were perhaps best acknowledged when Saints opted to take a penalty shot at goal five minutes in to the second half, Tommy Makinson the man who converted, before Fages added a drop goal shortly before the hour.
Hull KR were eventually breached for a fourth time on 62 minutes. Having held out on their own line for a sustained period, George Lawler was sent to the sinbin for holding down in a tackle five metres from his own line, and Saints wasted little time in making the most of their numerical advantage.
Smith, having previously been held up by Elliot Minchella, managed to get the ball down despite the best of attempts to get a foot under the ball by a Rovers defender.
With Lawler still off the pitch, Saints added another score through Grace, converted by Makinson, which rounded off the scoring, with Kristian Woolf’s men having now scored 54 points and conceded just one try in their opening 160 minutes of the new season.
They remain the team to beat.
Hull KR: Quinlan, Crooks, Minikin, Kenny-Dowall, Hall, Lewis, Abdull, King, Litten, Sims, Linnett, Hadley, Lawler. Subs: Parcell, Minchella, Storton, Mustapha.
St Helens: Welsby, Makinson, Naiqama, Simm, Grace, Lomax, Fages, Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Thompson, Bentley, Mata’utia. Subs: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Amor, Smith, Batchelor.
Tries: Grace 2, Welsby, Smith. Goals: Makinson 4. Drop goal: Fages.