On paper there was only one possible winner as top of the table St Helens made the trip to the John Smith’s Stadium to take on a Huddersfield Giants side who are yet to record their first win of the season after three attempts.
Almost everything was stacked against the Giants and the bookies were certain that Ian Watson would not be getting his first win of the season against the Champions and favourites for 2021.
In the end it was a brave effort by the Giants as Saints, for the first time this season, looked fallible.
Just four minutes had elapsed before Jack Welsby collected a Lachlan Coot high kick and then flung the pass inside to Theo Fages to touch down. Coote added the conversion for a 6-0 lead, a dream start for Saints, a nightmare for the Giants.
The Giants steadied the ship and the game developed into a real contest with some monster hits from both sides.
Just after the thirty-minute mark Kyle Amor went over the line but was held up by a steadfast Giants defence. With three minutes left it was Mark Percival who hit a big gap in the Giants line to score from twenty metres out.
Saints forced back-to-back goal line dropouts in the closing minutes of the first half. Coote added the conversion and despite a valiant defensive effort from the Giants, Saints took a 12-0 lead into the sheds.
The Giants stunned Saints five minutes after the restart when after a 40-20 from Jack Cogger, a long pass from Aidan Sezer went to Chris McQueen who found a massive gap to run in from twenty metres. Sezer was unable to add the conversion.
On the hour mark it was normal service resumed for Saints when Lewis Dodd drew in the defenders and put Jonny Lomax over from close range. Coote made no mistake with the conversion for 18-4.
But on seventy-one the Giants got their second, a tribute to a never-say-die attitude from the Giants, when Cogger ran the angle, bust a tackle, and fed Jermaine McGillvary to touch down in the corner. Sezer added the conversion for 10-18.
It wasn’t the comfortable win for Saints that most were predicting before kick-off and despite being on the back foot for large parts of the game it was a good effort from the home side to stay within eight points of the Champions, and winning the second half by four points against a side with a reputation for kicking on in the last forty. However, Saints stay top, and the Giants remain winless as they move towards round five.
Huddersfield Giants: Gaskell, McGillvary (T), Wood, McQueen (T), McIntosh, Cogger, Sezer (G), Ashworth, Cunningham, Gavet, Yates, Edwards, Jones. Subs: English, Lawrence, O’Brien, Wilson.
St Helens: Coote (3G), Naiqama, Welsby, Percival (T), Grace, Lomax (T), Fages (T), Walmsley, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Thompson, Bentley, Mata’Utia. Subs: Amor, Paasi, Dodd, Wingfield.
Referee: Rob Hicks.
Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, 0-10, 0-12 : HT : 4-12, 4-16, 4-18, 8-18, 10-18 : FT.