St Helens were given a much closer game than many people anticipated but came through with a 26-2 win against Championship side Halifax at the University of Bolton Stadium.
Saints, who were no doubt nervous given their recent semi final record, set their stall early on as Danny Richardson elected to take two points from a penalty just three minutes in.
Just ten minutes later, Halifax found themselves level as Steve Tyrer kicked a penalty right in the centre of the sticks.
The Championship’s side effort in defence was monumental. No one had given them a chance, but they held the Super League leaders for the majority of the first half.
But with just five minutes left in the first half, Saints broke free and scored through James Roby. Richardson scored the conversion to edge the Super League side back in front by six points.
The first try of the second half would be crucial in this game and it was the favourites who got it as Dom Peyroux benefitted from a close call by the Video Referee to score. Richardson converted from in front of the posts to double his sides lead.
As the Fax defence started to tire, Saints started to find more gaps and they grabbed another try just after the hour as Jonny Lomax got up and scored. Richardson converted to make it an 18 point lead.
Then the Super League leaders saved the best until last as Roby’s kick in goal was weighted perfectly and found Theo Fages who got in on the act. Richardson marked his return to the side with a perfect record from the boot.
It was a nervy day for St Helens, but in the end, they could celebrate a first visit to Wembley since 2008. They could wrap up the League Leaders Shield when they welcome Wakefield Trinity to the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday.
As for Halifax, they put in a very determined effort and did what a lot of Super League teams had failed to do this season. They welcome Toulouse on Sunday hoping to build on that performance