St Helens returned to winning ways after a 34-16 victory over Hull FC at the Totally Wicked Stadium, in a dress rehearsal for the Challenge Cup semi-finals.
It was a fast start from Saints, who forced a goal-line drop out straight from the kick off. From the resulting field position, Jonny Lomax’s cutout pass found Jack Welsby, who scored in the corner. Lachlan Coote scored the conversion to edge Saints ahead by six points.
With just seven minutes on the clock, Saints doubled that advantage. Coote was able to attack the line and stretch out to get the ball down. He couldn’t convert, but Saints were still ahead by 10.
Hull were able to hit back almost straight away. Jake Connor’s kick found Adam Swift, who scored in the corner. Marc Sneyd missed the conversion, meaning they trailed by six points.
It was Saints who scored next to double their advantage. Morgan Knowles took in a short ball, and got through the Hull defence to score. Coote was back on target with the conversion.
Coote then added two more points just past the half-hour, after Hull were caught offside.
There was time for one more Saints try before the end of the half. Lomax once again threw a cut out pass for Welsby to score in the corner. Coote could not add the conversion, meaning Saints led by 18 at the break.
Saints struck first in the second half as well. A kick was not dealt with by Jake Connor, and Welsby collected the ball and got it down to complete his hat-trick. Coote added the conversion.
Hull were able hit back just before the hour mark. Mahe Fonua got the ball out wide and was able to power through a couple of tackle attempts to score. Sneyd converted to get Hull into double figures.
The visitors saw a bit more of the ball after that, as the game got a bit scrappy.
However, it was Saints who landed the next crucial blow. Knowles managed to break through the middle of the defence, gave it to Lomax, who then put Joe Batchelor over for the try. Coote kicked the conversion.
But the final word would go to Hull. Fonua collected a Snyed kick and scored out wide. Sneyd kicked the conversion.
The two sides face each other in the Challenge Cup semi-finals next week.
St Helens: Lachlan Coote, Kevin Naiqama, Josh Simm, Mark Percival, Jack Welsby, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Joel Thompson, Sione Mata’utia, Morgan Knowles.
Subs: Kyle Amor, Agnatius Paasi, Joe Batchelor, Lewis Dodd.
Head Coach: Kristian Woolf
Hull FC: Jake Connor, Mahe Fonua, Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Griffin, Adam Swift, Josh Reynolds, Marc Sneyd, Ligi Sao, Danny Houghton, Chris Satae, Jordan Lane, Manu Ma’u, Joe Cator.
Subs: Jordan Johnstone, Brad Fash, Jack Brown, Josh Bowden.
Head Coach: Brett Hodgson.