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Only two league points separated St Helens and the Catalans Dragons coming into tonight’s clash at the Totally Wicked Stadium with the visitors knowing that a win would lift them level on points with the league leaders, and an improbably large win, by sixty-one points or more, would see them to the top of table on points difference.

Saints were given a ten-point handicap on the coupon which lent some credibility to a bounce back Dragons win after their home defeat at the hands of the Warrington Wolves last weekend.

The league leaders were without the inspirational Jonny Lomax who is out with a hand injury and who was replaced by Moses Mbye at stand-off allowing new stand in skipper Jack Welsby to remain at full back.

Almost incessant pressure from the Dragons was rewarded on ten minutes when Tom Johnstone c collected a Jordan Abdull kick in the right corner and went past the last Saints defender to score in the corner. Arthur Mourgue added the conversion for a 6-0 lead to the visitors.

On the half hour mark the Saints were back in the game as Konrad Hurrell took a Jack Welsby pass after the Dragons had spilled the ball on their own twenty, Welsby pulling in the Catalans tacklers to leave the way open for the big centre. Mark Percival was on target with the conversion to level the scores.

From the kick-off return a swinging arm high tackle from Frank Maria saw the Dragons man yellow carded, and probably counting himself as fortunate.

Within two minutes of the restart the Saints were in the lead when Sione Mata’utia benefitted from excellent work from Lewis Dodd who chased and palmed back his own high kick, the second rower with a simple walk-in try. Percival added the conversion for 12-6.

Five minutes later a dummy and break by Welsby saw him put Tommy Makinson free to score in the right corner. Percival added the touchline conversion and Saints were pulling clear. Percival squeezed his conversion inside the near post for 18-6.

The game was put beyond any doubt on sixty-four as Matty Lees collected a neat Daryl Clark grubber under the sticks for the fourth Saints try of the night to which Percival added the goal which made it 24-6.

Six minutes from time Julian Bousquet crashed through the Saints defence for the slenderest of lifelines and when Mourgue added the conversion the margin was down to twelve points.

Saints took the points, and went clear at the top of the table, but they made heavy work of a game in which they went behind early on and only really turned on the style in the ten minutes following half time. The Dragons let their guard slip in that crucial period and it cost them a victory and saw them go back-to-back losses with a chance that they will be level on points with sixth placed Salford at the end of the round.

St Helens: Welsby, Makinson (T), Hurrell (T), Percival (4/4 G), Blake, Mbye, Dodd, Delaney, Clark, Lees (T), Sironen, Mata’utia (T), Bell.  Subs: Paasi, Royle, Davies, Stephens. 18th Man: Bennison.

Catalans Dragons: Rougé, Davies, Ikuvalu, Laguerre, Johnstone (T), Fages, Abdull, Navarrete, Mourgue (2/2 G), Dezaria, Sims, Bousquet (T), Garcia. Subs: Nikorima, Satae, Castano, Maria (SB on 34). 18th Man: Yaha. 

Half-Time: 6-6.

Full-Time: 24-12.

Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, 4-6, 6-6, (SB) : HT: 10-6, 12-6, 16-6, 18-6, 22-6, 24-6, 24-10, 24-12 :FT.

Lead Exchanges: Catalans – Square – St Helens.

Referee: Aaron Moore.  

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 31st May 2024 9:50 PM | Views : 2943 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES