St Helens put their Challenge Cup disappointment behind them as they went two points clear at the top of the Super League after beating Hull FC.
After a tight first half, where Jack Welsby’s late try was the only difference, Saints were able to pull clear in the second half. Tries from Tommy Makinson (his second) and Jonny Lomax, as well as a Makinson penalty, ensured the two points for the hosts.
Saints made just one change to the side that was beaten by Wigan in the Challenge Cup last week. Josh Simm dropped out, with James Bell replacing him from the bench. Sione Mata’utia also started at centre, while Mark Percival played on the wing.
Meanwhile, Hull made two changes to the side that beat Toulouse a fortnight ago. Denive Balmforth and Kane Evans drop out, while there are returns for Josh Reynolds and Josh Griffin.
Hull were dealt a blow just four minutes into the match. Brad Fash went into a tackle with Matty Lees and came off second best. He ended up leaving the field after a couple of minutes down.
Just three minutes later, Saints took the lead. They got a penalty close to the line after Tommy Makinson was nudged off the ball. On the first play, James Roby attacked the line, got the pass to Konrad Hurrell, who then put Makinson over in the corner. Makinson’s conversion attempt just curled past the post.
After building some pressure by the Saints line, Hull got a deserved leveller on the half-hour. Jake Connor kicked towards the corner and Darnell McIntosh got there first and slid over. Connor could not then add the conversion, meaning it stayed a level game.
Just when it seemed it was going to stay level going into half-time, Saints scored again. Jack Welsby attacked the Hull line, and managed to get a hand free to get the ball down. Makinson added the conversion to give the hosts a six-point lead at the break.
HT- St Helens 10-4 Hull FC
Barely two minutes into the second half, Hull had a great chance to get back into the game. Jonny Lomax let a high kick bounce, Josh Reynolds got there first, but Lomax recovered and was able to hold Reynolds up.
Soon after, Saints found themselves down to 12 men. James Bell was sent to the sin bin for a tip tackle on Carlos Tuimavave.
Despite being a man light, Saints almost extended their lead soon after. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook contested a high kick with Connor, but was judged by the video referee to have knocked the ball on.
With 13 minutes gone in the second half, after Hull tried a short drop-out that didn’t work, Connor was punished for a ball steal on Roby and Makinson slotted the penalty between the sticks to extend Saints’ lead to eight points.
Just before the hour mark, Saints claimed their third try. Konrad Hurrell was able to break clear down the left-hand side and pass inside for Jonny Lomax to score. Makinson kicked the conversion.
The hosts then grabbed their fourth try just over 10 minutes to go to make the game safe. Makinson got the ball out wide, and was able to cut back inside and score. He was then able to convert his own try.
But the final word would go to Hull. They spread the ball out wide, and McIntosh went over for his second- despite the cries of a forward pass from the home fans. Connor added the conversion to get the Black and Whites into double figures.
That win ensured the hosts went two points clear at the top of the Super League. They are back in action on Thursday, as they travel to Warrington. Meanwhile, Hull will be hoping to bounce back next Saturday when they host Wigan.
FT- St Helens 24-10 Hull FC
St Helens: Welsby, Makinson, Hurrell, Mata’utia, Percival, Davies, Lomax, Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Sironen, Batchelor, Knowles. Subs: Lussick, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Paasi, Bell.
Tries: Makinson (2), Welsby, Lomax
Goals: Makinson 4/5
Hull: Connor, McIntosh, Tuimavave, Wynne, Shaul, Reynolds, Lovodua, Taylor, Houghton, Sao, Lane, Ma’u, Fash. Subs: Brown, Griffin, Satae, Johnstone.
Tries: McIntosh (2)
Goals: Connor 1/2