Two tries from Konrad Hurrell, and one apiece from Mark Percival, Will Hopoate, Lewis Dodd, Tommy Makinson and Jonny Lomax on his 300th appearance helped ensure reigning Betfred Super League champions St Helens scored a resounding win over struggling Wakefield
Last Updated: 31/03/23 11:33pm
Wakefield Trinity’s slim hopes of summoning a Betfred Super League miracle fell flat at the Totally Wicked Stadium as St Helens delivered a ruthless second-half performance to fashion a 38-0 win.
Arriving at the home of the world champions, pointless after six games and in the midst of a crippling injury crisis, Mark Applegarth’s men feared the worst when Mark Percival skipped over for the hosts’ opener with just seven minutes gone.
However the inevitable onslaught was delayed, and but for fumbles from Jai Whitbread and Mason Lino within the home 10, the visitors might even have headed into the half-time break with an improbable lead before they were made to pay for those missed opportunities with Will Hopoate and Tommy Makinson also crossing for the defending champions.
Saints, who were 12-0 up at the interval, were increasingly clinical as the minutes ticked by, with Lewis Dodd, Jonny Lomax and a blistering brace from Konrad Hurrell after the break.
Yet the one-sided final scoreline could not entirely disguise a sluggish first hour from the hosts, who also lost prop Alex Walmsley in the early stages, and coach Paul Wellens will know they must improve ahead of their Good Friday trip to a resurgent Wigan.
Story of the game
Wakefield had defied grim expectations in the first period, helped at times by Saints’ lack of focus, as they kept within touching distance after Percival had raced through their static rearguard to open the scoring.
After Saints prop Matty Lees inexplicably chose to run straight into Jay Pitts with options glaring to his left, the momentum shifted, and Wakefield pressed forward when the normally dependable Jack Welsby fumbled Morgan Smith’s punt forward.
Whitbread burrowed to within inches of the line but Wakefield coughed up possession from a bungled play-the-ball, and moments later, given another chance, Pitts sprang clear on the right only for Lino to fumble his pass inside with the tryline at his mercy.
Inevitably, Wakefield were punished, first by Hopoate and then Makinson who crossed in opposite corners to stretch Saints’ lead to 12 points at half-time, the visitors only hanging on by virtue of the latter’s trio of missed conversions.
Saints continued to lack their usual snap after the interval, allowing Will Dagger a free run at their line before knocking-on on the edge of their 10, but the visitors, for all their undoubted effort, were ill-equipped to make their spells of territorial possession pay.
Assuming kicking duties, Percival booted Saints further clear from in front of the posts after Wakefield strayed offside, and any hint of hope for the visitors was extinguished approaching the halfway point of the second period when Welsby punctured the Wakefield line and sent Dodd over with Percival adding another two.
Hurrell proved unstoppable in barging over for his late brace while Lomax capitalised on a fortunate ricochet to grab a score in his 300th game.
What they said
St Helens head coach Paul Wellens
“In the first half in particular it was a really tough contest, we knew Wakefield would come here really desperate and they showed real heart and character, and I told the guys it might be a night when we have to be patient.
“In a lot of respects we did a good job in terms of our mindset and being patient, but on the other hand we coughed up a lot of ball tonight and it didn’t help our cause.”
Wakefield Trinity head coach Mark Applegarth
“I thought the first half was pretty even but it is all about taking your chances. When you’re playing the world champions you’re not going to be gifted opportunities time and time again, so you’ve got to be clinical and you’ve got to take them.
“Even if we’d sneaked a win tonight it would still have been a massive game for us [against Castleford Tigers] next week.”
Wakefield kick off Rivals Round by travelling to near neighbours and fellow strugglers Castleford Tigers on Thursday, April 6 (8pm). St Helens then make the trip to Wigan Warriors in the traditional Good Friday derby the following day (3pm). Both matches are live on Sky Sports.
Source : Sky Sports