St Helens responded to last week’s thumping at Salford with a 20-12 victory over Castleford, but the champions were made to work for the two points.
The Saints were stunned by Salford 44-12 last week, but they bounced back with a narrow win over Castleford.
Kristian Woolf’s side were 12-0 up at half-time thanks to tries from Curtis Sironen and Morgan Knowles.
Joe Batchelor extended Saints’ lead in the second half before Castleford started a comeback, with a hat-trick from Bureta Faraimo. Saints hung on for the two points though after the Tigers failed to convert any of their tries.
It took just four minutes of the game’s first try to be scored as Sironen wrestled his way over from close, taking a couple of Castleford defenders over the line with him. Tommy Makinson was on kicking duties and successfully converted.
England World Cup hopeful Knowles extended Saints’ lead in the 15th minute when he charged onto a pass from Jack Welsby.
Already down 12-0 at the midway point of the first half, Castleford were dealt a further blow when prop Liam Watts was sin-binned for a high tackle on Jonny Lomax.
HT: St Helens 12-0 Castleford Tigers
Makinson, who is currently Super League’s top points scorer, put stretched his side’s advantage with a penalty goal shortly after the second half restart.
Saints went down to 12 men for 10 minutes when try scorer Sironen was shown a yellow card for a high shot on Faraimo.
The hosts scored their third try in the 53rd minute. England international Batchelor got on the end of a grubber from Lomax. Makinson’s conversion saw them 20-0 to the good with 26 minutes remaining.
Castleford started to come back into the game in the final quarter. USA international Bureta Faraimo scored a hat-trick in the space of 12 minutes, but none of them were converted as Saints held on for a 20-12 victory to remain four points above rivals Wigan at the top of the Super League table.
FT: St Helens 20-12 Castleford Tigers
St Helens: Bennison; Makinson, Hurrell, Davies, Hill; Welsby, Lomax; Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Sironen, Batchelor, Knowles. Subs: Lussick, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Wingfield, Bell.
Tries: Sironen, Knowles, Batchelor Goals: Makinson 4
Castleford: Eden; Faraimo, Blair, Fonua, Olpherts; O’Brien, Richardson; Watts, McShane, Griffin, Edwards, Mellor, Westerman. Subs: Sutcliffe, Matagi, Martin, Feki.
Tries: Faraimo (3) Goals: