SAINTS produced a dominant performance to beat Huddersfield 34-18 and continue their charge up the Super League table.
If winning has become a habit for Keiron Cunningham’s men then they’ve found it at the right time as they head into the final game of the regular season.
Four wins from their last four has them level on points with Catalans – and with plenty of momentum heading into the important time of the season.
Beating the Giants in their own barn is no easy feat – especially with new coach Rick Stone in tenure this week.
But Saints were good value for a victory that was built on being clinical in the right places and tenacious in defence.
And they got out of the blocks well to set up the win.
Once Huddersfield had fired the opening kick off dead, you always got the feeling they were nervous and it would be Saints’ day.
Strong drives from Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Jordan Turner got them in the right area and then the returning Luke Walsh put in a slide rule kick for Joe Greenwood to gather.
Mark Percival with the extras.
Danny Brough replied for the hosts on 10 minutes, but Saints hit back almost immediately when the Giants came up with another error.
Turner kicked from inside his own 30 to do nothing but clear his lines but new signing Gene Ormsby lost his spacial awareness and stepped on his dead ball line.
From the drop out, Percival almost went close with a dancing run before a fine move involving Walsh and Jon Wilkin saw Jack Owens take Jonny Lomax’ bullet pass.
Again the Giants hit back – this time through Tom Symonds – but the Saints dented their hopes within minutes.
James Roby initially went close, but on the next attack Wilkin took on the line, found Walsh on his left who pinged a great ball out to LMS on the charge.
Percival with the extras.
The visitors were on top and should have pressed home their advantage further when Huddersfield boomed it out on the full once again the restart.
Jack Owens then forced a drop out from Ormsby but Saints couldn’t make it count.
And then a break through the middle started by the lively Morgan Knowles couldn’t bring points.
In the past that would have frustrated Saints but on their next foray, Jordan Turner showed great strength to go over.
Percival making it a deserved 22-12 at the break.
Saints began the second half on the front foot, forcing two errors in a row from the Giants.
And they looked to have increased their lead when Lomax sent over another great ball to Jack Owens to put down in the corner.
Unluckily, the winger was ruled in touch … but it was certainly one of those you’d love to see on the TV again.
Within a minute the blow was doubled as Jermaine McGillvary went over in the opposite corner to reduce the deficit.
But in a heartbeat, Saints restored their 10-point gap ironically from a Huddersfield attack.
Buoyed by their try the Giants flew up the field but Brough’s kick to the corner – intended for McGillvary – was taken mid air and returned 100 metres by Adam Swift.
Mark Percival adding his fourth conversion of the afternoon.
Huddersfield weren’t done and it took some superb defending for Saints to withstand four sets right on their own line – on the back of three penalties – and then another one as the game reached the hour mark.
But, as all good sides do, Saints scored next, after soaking up all that pressure.
Lomax went through the middle, found Swift on the left hand side who then duly turned it back inside to Percival.
The centre caught Turner on a great line, and although he was hauled down within metres, it was swept right and Alex Walmsley stretched over.
The big forward’s third of the season.
Saints could have had more in the final ten minutes but equally their defence kept the desperate Giants at bay to ensure there would be no late comeback.
Tries: Brough, Symonds, McGillvary
Goals: Brough (3 from 3)
Tries: Greenwood, Owens, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Turner, Swift, Walmsley
Goals: Percival (5 from 6)
REF: J Cobb
18. Jake Connor; 2. Jermaine McGillvary, 3. Leroy Cudjoe, 5. Aaron Murphy, 35. Gene Ormsby; 6. Danny Brough, 34. Ryan Brierley; 10. Craig Huby, 9. Ryan Hinchcliffe, 16. Sam Rapira, 11. Tom Symonds, 12. Michael Lawrence, 17. Ukuma Ta’ai.
Subs: 8. Eorl Crabtree, 20. Kruise Leeming, 22. Oliver Roberts, 36. Sebastine Ikahihifo.
1. Jonny Lomax; 22. Jack Owens, 24. Matty Fleming, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Adam Swift; 3. Jordan Turner, 7. Luke Walsh; 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 15. Greg Richards, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 20. Joe Greenwood, 12. Jon Wilkin.
Subs: 10. Kyle Amor, 11. Atelea Vea, 17. Luke Thompson, 28. Morgan Knowles.