Saints had to withstand a tremendous late comeback from Hull before securing a trip to Wembley, but the game at Leigh Sports Village will be remembered for a horrific-looking injury to Griffin that gifted Fages a crucial 26th-minute score.
Saints were leading 8-2 when former Salford centre Griffin, running the ball out of defence, suddenly collapsed to the ground as his Achilles tendon gave way and, clearly in agony, let go of the ball.
Instinctively, Fages picked it up and cantered the 15 metres to the line and referee Liam Moore had no alternative but to award the try after initially conferring with video official James Child.
Hodgson says he had no problem with the Frenchman playing to the whistle.
“It’s part of the game,” he said. “It was an error. I don’t think it was disrespectful to Josh’s injury. Theo Fages saw the ball on the ground and did what he had to do.”
Asked if he was disappointed that his players failed to play to the whistle, Hodgson said: “I think everyone was more concerned with Josh, I can’t be too angry at the players for that.”
St Helens coach Kristian Woolf said of the incident: “It’s play on. If that happened to one of us, we’d expect them to do that to us.”
It was also a costly injury for Griffin from a personal viewpoint.
Hull had a ready-made replacement on the bench in Cameron Scott, who went on to score during his side’s late rally, but the injury looks to be season-ending for Griffin, who was in contention for England’s mid-season international.
“He’s not good,” Hodgson said. “It looks like he’s ruptured his Achilles. He’s obviously hurting bad at the minute.”
Woolf said: “It’s really unfortunate for Josh Griffin, it’s a terrible injury. It takes a long time to come back from, it’s really bad luck for him.”