Saints progressed to a Wembley appearance against the Castleford Tigers after a 33-18 win over Hull FC at Leigh Sports Village on a sun-soaked Saturday afternoon!
Tommy Makinson and Regan Grace were both back in the side, but Mark Percival and Agnatius Paasi missed out so Dan Norman came onto the bench for his debut.
The men were looking to follow in the Saints Women’s footsteps and emerge triumphant in Leigh, but it was Hull who took an early 13th minute lead after Saints were penalised for offside. Marc Sneyd kicking the penalty, 2-0.
Saints found their groove moments later mind as we were awarded a penalty in the Hull FC half. A few tackles into the set Theo Fages gave the ball to Regan Grace and the Welsh winger finished spectacularly in the left corner. Lachlan Coote added the extras from the left touchline, 6-2 we led.
Coote then added a penalty shortly after, as Hull FC were caught offside, 8-2 Saints led.
Saints grabbed their second try in the 24th minute. Josh Griffin dropped the ball as he went down injured and Fages picked the up the loose ball and, after a video referee review, the try was given. Coote added the extra two again, 14-2 we led.
Hull FC were again caught offside again in the 28th minute, but Coote’s kick narrowly missed this time around. 14-2.
Grace could have bagged his second try a few minutes later, as he went over with another great finish, but his left foot was in touch. That was the last chance of the half, as Saints led 14-2 at the break.
Saints opened the second half with their third try of the game. Jack Welsby opted to go himself close to the Hull FC line and he reached out to score. It went upstairs, but was confirmed after a video referee review. Coote added the extras, 20-2 Saints led.
This time Hull did respond though. Mahe Fonua forced his way in at the right corner. Marc Sneyd added the extra two, 20-8 to the Saints.
We went close to extending our lead just before the hour mark, but Lewis Dodd was unable to collect a pass from LMS underneath the sticks before the impressive Fages kicked a 64th minute drop goal from close range to make it a three score game.
Hull again responded a minute later though. They opted for a short kick off, then won a penalty as Saints stole the ball, and as they tapped the ball they found an offload for Danny Houghton to score under the sticks. Sneyd added the extras, 21-14 Saints led.
The Black and Whites added another try in the 71st minute to set up a tense affair as Cameron Scott went over from close range. Sneyd missed the conversion, 21-18.
Jake Connor then kicked a 40/20 for Hull as they piled forward for a late winner. However, as they threw the ball from left to right, Grace intercepted and ran the length of the field to send us to Wembley! Coote added the extra two, 27-18 Saints led with five minutes left.
Hull’s hopes were dented and another try followed two minutes later. A high Fages kick was collected by Kevin Naiqama, the Fijian produced a great offload to find Coote, who scored underneath the sticks. Coote converted again and Saints were off to Wembley again!
Kristian Woolf’s men will face Castleford Tigers at Wembley on 17th July. Ticket details will follow.
Saints Team: Lachlan Coote, Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, Jack Welsby, Regan Grace, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Sione Mata’utia, Joel Thompson, Morgan Knowles.
Interchanges: Kyle Amor, Joe Batchelor, Lewis Dodd, Dan Norman.
Tries: Regan Grace (17, 75), Theo Fages (24), Jack Welsby (48), Lachlan Coote (77)
Conversions: Lachlan Coote (5 from 5)
Penalties: Lachlan Coote (1 from 2)
Drop goal: Theo Fages (64)
Hull FC Team: Jake Connor, Mahe Fonua, Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Griffin, Adam Swift, Josh Reynolds, Marc Sneyd, Ligi Sao, Danny Houghton, Chris Satae, Andre Savelio, Manu Ma’u, Jordan Lane.
Interchanges: Josh Bowden, Jack Brown, Brad Fash, Cameron Scott.
Tries: Mahe Fonua (52), Danny Houghton (66), Cameron Scott (72)
Conversions: Marc Sneyd (2 from 3)
Penalties: Marc Sneyd (1 from 1)