Saints scored nine tries in a dominant win over Huddersfield Giants which saw Kristian Woolf's men go top of the Super League table for the first time under his reign.
Pre-match Woolf admitted young hooker Lewis Dodd missed out on his debut after being told to self-isolate, so Jack Welsby started in the halves with Matty Costello on the wing and Josh Simm making his first appearance of the season in the centre.
Kristian Woolf explains today’s team including the news that young @Dodd1Lewis was set to make his Saints debut but unfortunately has had to self isolate following this mornings announcement. 🔵⚪️ pic.twitter.com/i2ktqgNxUX
— St.Helens R.F.C. (@Saints1890) September 4, 2020
Saints got off to a great start with a try in the fourth minute through in-form full back Lachlan Coote. A driven kick took a fortunate deflection off James Graham, who was making his 200th Super League appearance, and fell into the path of Coote who touched down unchallenged under the sticks. He added his own conversion to gave Saints an early 6-0 lead.
Aaron Smith got his second in two weeks to double the Saints lead in the 13th minute, after a great offload by Alex Walmsley five metres from the line, after he was surrounded. Big Al’s quick offload found Smith who dived through two defenders to score beneath the sticks and Coote added the extras to give Saints a 12-0 lead.
Tom Hewitt thought he had got one back in the 19th minute, but winger Dominic Young knocked on from the looping kick after Matty Costello couldn’t collect and the video referee gave no try.
Regan Grace was gifted his fourth try of the season in the 24th minute. Jonny Lomax pressed Tom Holmes well and his offload went wayward and Grace reacted fastest and flew down the length of the pitch to score. Coote kicked again to give Saints a 18-0 lead after 25 minutes.
Coote made it 20-0 in the 30th minute with a penalty, after Owen Trout was penalised. Saints came close twice again, but went into half time with the 20 point lead.
Matty Costello pulled off a brilliant early second half challenge to deny Young from flying down the full length of the pitch, as the young winger grabbed on to the wingers shirt and held on long enough to prevent the break.
But Trout scored on his debut for Giants in the 46th minute after stealing the ball from Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook, before striding over the line from just over 20 metres out. Oliver Russel added the extras, leaving the score 20-6 after 47 minutes.
McCarthy-Scarsbrook made up for the error three minutes later, driving through two defenders and holding off the last man to go over after a quick offload from James Bentley. Coote added the conversion to regain Saints’ 20 point advantage.
Grace scored his second of the game in the 56th minute with a great darting run down the wing before cutting inside on the full back to score. This came on the back of a great cut-out pass across the defence by Lomax, and Coote maintained his 100% kicking record giving Saints a 32-6 lead.
Saints scored again three minutes later, some great interplay between Kyle Amor and Smith, who found Welsby who had time to choose his pass, and Costello darted in between two defenders to score. Coote made it seven kicks to give Saints a 38-6 lead.
Saints continued in relentless fashion, and the impressive Coote grabbed his second on the left hand side, dummying the pass out wide before forcing his way over. Coote missed his first kick in 28 attempts, leaving Saints with a 42-6 lead after 64 minutes.
Dom Peyroux got himself on the score sheet having returned from injury last week, driving through six defenders to score to the right of the sticks, leaving Coote with an easy conversion to give Saints a 48-6.
Walmsley took Saints over the 50 mark with his customary driven try in the 71st minute, powering past five defenders to score to the left of the posts. Coote added the extras, leaving the score 54-6 as Saints hit the top!
Huddersfield 13: Louis Senior, Jermaine McGillvary, Leroy Cudjoe, Jordan Turner, Dominic Young, Oliver Russel, Tom Holmes, James Gavet, Aidan O’Brien, Matty English, Tom Hewitt, Josef Wardle, Sam Wood.
Interchanges: Reiss Butterworth, Oliver Wilson, Owen Trout, Kenny Edwards.
Tries: Trout (46)
Saints 13: Lachlan Coote, Matty Costello, Kevin Naiqama, Josh Simms, Regan Grace, Jonny Lomax, Jack Welsby, Alex Walmsley, Aaron Smith, Matty Lees, James Bentley, Morgan Knowles, James Graham.
Interchanges: Dominic Peyroux, Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Kyle Amor, Jack Ashworth.
Tries: Coote (4, 63), Smith (13), Grace (24, 56), McCarthy-Scarsbrook (49), Costello (59), Peyroux (68), Walmsley (71)
Goals: Coote (8)
Penalties: Coote (30)
Half time: 0-20
Full Time: 6-54
Referee: Liam Moore